Newest Reviews
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Iron Mask, The
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
  Song of Scheherazade Hello Sailor
Year: 1947
Director: Waler Reisch
Stars: Yvonne De Carlo, Brian Donlevy, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Eve Arden, Phillip Reed, John Qualen, Richard Lane, George Dolenz, Elena Verdugo, Terry Kilburn, Charles Kullman
Genre: Biopic, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (Jean-Pierre Aumont) is a sailor in the Russian Navy, but he harbours ambitions further than that of reaching the position of officer, for his first love is music and his dearest wish is to write an opera that is performed in a proper opera house: one in Moscow would do very nicely. This doesn't look like it's going to happen any time soon if his Captain, Vladimir Gregorovitch (Brian Donlevy), has anything to do with it, a hard taskmaster who tolerates no breaches of his ship's conduct, but in every port they arrive at, Nikolai and his singing friend the doctor, Klin (Charles Kullman), hare off on shore leave to find somewhere to play...

Play music, that is, not cards or dominoes or Super Mario Kart, in one of those Hollywood biopics that once upon a time became very popular with Hollywood studios, if not a vast swathe of the general audience, as it demonstrated their commitment to class and highbrow entertainment by bringing classical music to the masses. Naturally, aside from making the pieces in question more familiar to those moviegoers, the results were more often than not blithely crass in comparison to the life stories they were purporting to tell, so with Rimsky-Korsakov you had a largely invented account of his early career snatching up the biographical details that he served in the Navy before making it big and spinning a whole yarn about it.

What our Nicky (as he ends up called, French accent and all) didn't do was romance forties sex symbol and future Munster Yvonne De Carlo, who here he meets in a Spanish port when she's dancing on stage and posing as a gypsy maiden, which she isn't, she’s wearing brown makeup and is all dressed up. She's actually Cara de Talavera, something of a gold digger and daughter of the even more opportunist Eve Arden (that's right, Eve Arden was playing Yvonne de Carlo's mother which offers some idea of the lunacy on offer), but Nicky will melt her heart when she hears what he can do with a sheet of music. That said, he's so wrapped up in his talent that he needs a lot of coaxing from Cara's womanly charms, not so much hard to get as hard to understand.

Naturally, you were not going to learn much here if it was history you were after, other than the fact that Rimsky-Korsakov wrote Flight of the Bumble Bee, which in a bizarre scene De Carlo dances to after helpfully explaining the title to us watching. But the choreography here was not the best, as while our leading lady could certainly cut a rug with the best of them, the moves she was offered here were clumsy and often embarrassing, though at least she was spared the ignominy that the male chorus had to endure as they put on a display of chair dancing - not modern chair dancing as the office workers of the world know it when something groovesome comes on the radio, but synchronised dancing with a wooden chair as their partner.

There was intentional humour, as when the good doctor starts belting out his scales on entry to the de Talavera's house (uninvited) which wakes up Madame Arden and she inquires of her parrot if that noise emanated from him, that was the broad style of the jokes in an attempt at accessibility, essentially rendering what could have been stuffy subject matter on the level of an Ann Miller musical. You can imagine how that plays out: camp and lots of it, especially with all those sailors appearing and Donlevy frequently stripped to the waist as he inspected them, looking like a sweat-slicked Popeye with this cigarette holder clamped between his teeth. They threw in a fight with whips between Nicky and a love rival (Phillip Reed as a proper Russian Prince) as if this was not kinky enough, so something for everyone then, except perhaps serious fans of Rimsky-Korsakov who saw his famous piece Scheherazade delivered as the grand finale in some kind of gaudy Arabian Knights fantasy only lacking the presence of Maria Montez. But Yvonne was more than sufficient in a film that took a decidedly not-sensible approach to a serious subject and was amusing despite itself.

[Simply Media's DVD has no extras, but the dreamy Technicolor is nicely preserved.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1986 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor


Last Updated: