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The Desert Song [1953] [DVD]

Kathryn Grayson (actor)
Gordon McRae (actor)
Format: all-region dvd (worldwide)
Runtime: 102 min
Quality: Excellent

For today's viewer, Desert Song is the name of the Nevada motel Nicolas Cage gets evicted from in Leaving Las Vegas, but to the older generation it is one of the most enduring of composer Sigmund Romberg's popular operettas, still being revived in the post-Beatles 1970s and taken seriously even then.

This handsomely mounted Warner Bros remake is easy enough on the eye, and particularly easy on the ear. But the good-looking Gordon MacRae is miscast as the young American anthropologist doubling by night as El Khobar, avenger of the desert Riffs (that's not a musical pun).

Still, Kathryn Grayson sings One Alone as if her life depended on it and Raymond Massey is perfect as the cruel and villainous sheik, though Steve Cochran is wasted as a luckless legionnaire. In the 1943 version the hero fought the Nazis, this time the score triumphs over all: it's unlikely there'll be a next time.
Price: £14.95
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The Desert Song [1953] [DVD]
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