The Flame of New Orleans (1941)

The Flame of New Orleans (1941)
  • 1016
  • Passed
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Release year: 1941 ()
  • Running time: 79 min
  • Original Title: The Flame of New Orleans
  • Voted: 1016

French farce comes to the New World in 1840 as Claire Ledoux convinces the middle-aged banker who is her fiance that she is two different women -- a deception made necessary by the arrival of a man acquainted with the swath she cut across Europe. Giraud has been about to foreclose on a $150 loan made to a sea captain who needed the funds to court Claire. Get Claire's "cousin" out of New Orleans before the wedding, Giraud tells the sea captain and the debt will be paid.

1Marlene DietrichClaire Ledeux
2Bruce CabotRobert LaTour
3Roland YoungCharles Giraud
4Mischa AuerZolotov
  • Die Marlene-- Always great! by 8

    This is a delightful old film with a cast of characters, from Bruce Cabot, who plays the captain and romantic interest, to Andy Devine, Frank Jenks, Mischa Auer and a whole bunch of studio character actors. Roland Young, who delighted us in the original Topper with Cary Grant, plays the befuddled count who plans to marry Die Marlene on the pretext she's an innocent young darling. The scene where the New Orleans ladies take Marlene aside to give her a little lecture on the "burden of womanhood she'll have to endure" after her marriage is priceless, with the tiny smirk that plays across Marlene's face (given her well-known history, it makes it doubly funny). While this little film isn't (and wasn't)a great shake at the box office at the time, it is delightful to see Die Marlene, always beautiful in that classic, classy European sense, at her best.

  • Surprisingly excellent by 9

    René Clair lost some of his charm when he went to Hollywood, but chances were good that he couldn't lose it all. I quite love his 1942 film I Married a Witch, starring Veronica Lake. I think I like this Marlene Dietrich vehicle even better. Oh, this is a charmer, all right. The plot is too complicated to describe here, but the story is very clever and very entertaining. The film is sweet, romantic and quite funny. The cast is exceptional. Bruce Cabot is surprisingly great as the leading man. You might remember him as the block of wood who won out over the monkey in King Kong. He must have gained some talent as he aged; he's much more handsome at this point, and has an effortless charm, reminiscent of Clark Gable. Roland Young plays his rival. One thing I'll always love about Golden Age Hollywood is the bevy of character actors, something we have entirely lost in the present. Here we have Mischa Auer, Anne Revere, Andy Devine, Theresa Harris and Franklin Pangborn. I had thought for sure Morocco was the best reason to own Universal's Marlene Dietrich set, but, so far, this is the best.

  • Marlene Takes The Big Easy by 6

    Sandwiched in between some of her great films at Universal with John Wayne is this modest programmer for Marlene Dietrich that depends considerably on her charms to carry it off. Perhaps it might have been a much better film had the two leading men she wanted been available.

    According to a recent biography of Marlene Dietrich, the two men she wanted for The Flame Of New Orleans were Cary Grant and Adolphe Menjou. She had worked with both before, Menjou in Morocco and Grant in Blonde Venus. She liked Menjou and sad to say MGM wouldn't make him available. At the time she and Cary Grant did not get along all that well, he played the other man in Blonde Venus. But in the interim he had gotten superstardom so Dietrich thought that Grant might prove to be a good screen partner now. Alas, that screen team was never to be.

    Marlene and her maid Theresa Harris arrive in New Orleans where from the outset it's made plain to the viewer that Dietrich is out to hook a rich fish from the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. The one she looks to land is rich and fussy Roland Young and she does bait a trap for him. But a roistering sea captain played by Bruce Cabot spoils it all for her though eventually Young falls for her as expected.

    Now if you can't figure out who she winds up with, there's something terribly wrong with you.

    Cabot does give a strong performance as the captain, I'm sure he was a rougher type than Cary Grant would have been. Of course as was usual with Marlene and her leading man, the obligatory affair was had. But she also said she found Cabot to be something of a boor and dropped him quickly.

    Theresa Harris had a very interesting and unusual role for a black actress of the time. She might be a maid, but she functions more like a partner in crime with Dietrich's schemes. She's nobody's fool in this film and even gets a love interest of sorts in Young's driver Clarence Muse.

    The film did get an Oscar nomination for Best Art&Interior Direction and the sets were grand. Rene Clair did a very good job of conveying New Orleans of 1841. Still the film is minor league Dietrich and it could have been a lot better if she had gotten the players she wanted as co-stars.

  • A Fine Dietrich Film! by 7

    French director, Rene Clair, went to Hollywood to direct German Marlene Dietrich in this role where she played a con-artist known as the Countess and/or Lili. The story is set in New Orleans in the 1800s and has a fabulous art direction with costumes and set designs that are first rate. The problem with this film is really in the writing. It never holds up to me. While I love the cast, Dietrich is supported by a first rate cast and crew of Hollywood's golden age of cinema where even character parts were done brilliantly. I enjoyed the relationship between the Countess and her African American maid, Clementine, in the film as her friend and confidante. The countess has too many suitors much like any Marlene Dietrich film. The one suitor is a poor sailor with a pet monkey and the other is Giraud, an older, wealthy but unattractive man. In this film, the Countess is expected to get married like all women are expected to do in this day and age. The film begins with a mystery of a wedding dress found in the Mississippi River. There are plenty of light hearted moments as well. Still, this film is fine to watch.

  • utterly charming by 7

    Charming is the perfect word for this movie. Dietrich is at her best as she charms her two beaus, the score is charming, and Rene Clair brings the same light touch he showed the next year in I Married a Witch. Quite funny, but more than any thing else, charming.

1Rudolph Matécinematographer
2Frank Skinnercomposer
3René Clairdirector
4Frank Grosseditor
5Joe Pasternakproducer
6Norman Krasnawriter