(director: Alan Dwan; screenwriter: story by Angela Stuart/operetta by Rudolf Friml/Richard Sale/Laird Doyle/Elizabeth Meehan; cinematographer: Reggie Lanning; editor: Harry Keller; music: Rudolf Friml; cast: Nelson Eddy (Captain Jim Laurence), Ilona Massey (Natalia Alanova), Joseph Schildkraut (Count Igor Savin), Elsa Lanchester (Princess ‘Tanya’ Tatiana), Hugo Haas (Prince Nickolai Balinin), Rich Valin (Dovkin), Lenore Ulric (Baroness Kruposny), Peter Whitney (Volkoff Overseer), George Sorel (Baron Kruposny), the American GI Chorus; Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Alan Dwan; Republic; 1947)
“This was the last time on the ‘big screen’ for the popular Nelson Eddy, in this forgettable fluff western operetta.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This was the last time on the ‘big screen’ for the popular Nelson Eddy, in this forgettable fluff western operetta. The costume piece film was praised by the critics and the box office was solid. It’s a lighthearted musical western directed with great skill by Alan Dwan(“Sands of Iwo Jima”/”Calendar Girl”/”The Restless Breed”), who keeps it humorous and delightfully melodramatic by gently poking fun of Eddy throughout as he does his regular shtick. The weak operetta score by Rudolph Friml includes such tunes as “Nearer and Dearer,” “Love Is the Time” and “Tell Me With Your Eyes.” The story by Angela Stuart and the screenplay by Richard Sale, Laird Doyle and Elizabeth Meehan are both lackluster. The singers include Eddy and co-star Ilona Massey and the American GI Chorus.
In the 1830s, in Old California, at the Russian imperial post at Fort Ross, in territory then owned by Russia, the criminal hubby of the aristocratic Russian Natalia Alanova (Ilona Massey), the disgraced Count Igor Savin (Joseph Schildkraut), is imprisoned at the fort. Captain Jim Laurence (Nelson Eddy), of the American cavalry, is visiting the area to pave the way for the future American takeover of the Northwest territory, when he falls for Natalia and rescues her from being blackmailed by her husband to get him released or else.
The comical portrayals of Hugo Haas and Elsa Lanchester as the bumbling Russian governor and his wife, add some borscht to the meal served.
REVIEWED ON 5/31/2015 GRADE: B-