Balalaika (1939)

102 mins | Drama | 29 December 1939

Director:

Reinhold Schunzel

Cinematographers:

Karl Freund, Joseph Ruttenberg

Editor:

George Boemler

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

According to pre-production news items in HR , M-G-M planned to make this film for two years before production actually began. Although Ilona Massey was slated for the lead, the studio also considered revising the script as a vehicle for Miliza Korjus. Another news item in HR adds that Nelson Eddy and Ilona Massey spent four weeks pre-recording their musical numbers before filming began. The film received an Academy Award nomination in the Sound Recording ... More Less

According to pre-production news items in HR , M-G-M planned to make this film for two years before production actually began. Although Ilona Massey was slated for the lead, the studio also considered revising the script as a vehicle for Miliza Korjus. Another news item in HR adds that Nelson Eddy and Ilona Massey spent four weeks pre-recording their musical numbers before filming began. The film received an Academy Award nomination in the Sound Recording category. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Dec 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
15 Dec 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jan 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Aug 39
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
15 Dec 39
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
12 Aug 39
p. 39.
Motion Picture Herald
23 Dec 39
pp. 40-41.
New York Times
15 Dec 39
p. 33.
Variety
20 Dec 39
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr to scr const
Contr to scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus cond
Dir Russian Coassack Choir
SOUND
Rec dir
DANCE
Ballet choreography
Asst to Albertina Rasch
Dance ballet
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
STAND INS
Vocal stand-in for Miss Massey
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the musical Balalaika , book and lyrics by Eric Maschwitz, music by George Posford and Bernard Grun (London, 22 Dec 1936).
MUSIC
Selections based on Scheherezade by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov.
SONGS
"At the Balalaika," "Tanya," "Ride, Cossack, Ride" and "Shadows on the Sand," words and music by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest
"Magic of Your Love," words and music by Gus Kahn.
DETAILS
Release Date:
29 December 1939
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 15 December 1939
Production Date:
began 20 June 1939
retaks mid September 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
19 December 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9347
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
102
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5775
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In the days of Czarist Russia, it is love at first sight when Peter, a prince in the Czarist regime and an officer in the Cossack army, sees Lydia, a cabaret singer. Realizing that Lydia, whose brother and father are leaders of the revolutionary movement, would never fraternize with a member of the aristocracy, Peter disguises himself as a student and the two fall in love. Their romance is shattered when Lydia discovers Peter's true identity as he leads his Cossacks into the public square to break up a demonstration and her brother Dimitri is killed in the scuffle. Soon after, the war with Germany begins, and Lydia and Peter are separated as Peter goes off to fight in the trenches. When the war finally ends, members of the Russian aristocracy emigrate to Paris, where they find work as taxi drivers and doormen. Peter's friend Nicki opens a Paris version of the Cafe Balalaika, where the emigres congregate to reminisce. It is at the cafe that on New Year's Eve Peter and Lydia meet again and, mellowed by the trauma of war and revolution, agree to ... +


In the days of Czarist Russia, it is love at first sight when Peter, a prince in the Czarist regime and an officer in the Cossack army, sees Lydia, a cabaret singer. Realizing that Lydia, whose brother and father are leaders of the revolutionary movement, would never fraternize with a member of the aristocracy, Peter disguises himself as a student and the two fall in love. Their romance is shattered when Lydia discovers Peter's true identity as he leads his Cossacks into the public square to break up a demonstration and her brother Dimitri is killed in the scuffle. Soon after, the war with Germany begins, and Lydia and Peter are separated as Peter goes off to fight in the trenches. When the war finally ends, members of the Russian aristocracy emigrate to Paris, where they find work as taxi drivers and doormen. Peter's friend Nicki opens a Paris version of the Cafe Balalaika, where the emigres congregate to reminisce. It is at the cafe that on New Year's Eve Peter and Lydia meet again and, mellowed by the trauma of war and revolution, agree to reconcile. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.