The Gay Desperado

Watch The Gay Desperado

  • Approved
  • 1936
  • 1 hr 26 min
  • 6.1  (303)

The Gay Desperado is a 1936 musical-comedy film directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Nino Martini, Ida Lupino, and Leo Carrillo. The film tells the story of a Mexican baritone named Don Pasquale (Martini) who travels to New York City to collect money from a wealthy benefactor named Mr. Sampson. However, when he arrives, he discovers that Sampson has died and his money has been stolen. With the help of his newfound American friends, Pasquale sets out to track down Sampson's thief and clear his own name.

The film opens with Pasquale performing in a Mexican cantina, singing operatic tunes to the delight of the patrons. However, his joy is short-lived when he receives a letter from Mr. Sampson requesting his presence in New York City. With dreams of fame and fortune in his head, Pasquale sets off for the United States, leaving behind his beloved Rosita (Lupino).

Upon arriving in New York, Pasquale discovers that Mr. Sampson has died and his money has been stolen. The police think Pasquale is the culprit and he is thrown in jail. It's there that he meets his American allies, a group of colorful characters including a newspaperman named Peter (Eugene Pallette), a lawyer named Alonzo (Ralph Morgan), and a woman named Sally (Lupino), who bears a striking resemblance to Rosita.

Pasquale enlists their help in finding the real thief and they set off on a madcap adventure that takes them through the streets of New York and into the homes of the city's wealthy elite. Along the way, Pasquale realizes his true feelings for Sally and the two fall in love.

The Gay Desperado is a lighthearted romp that showcases the vocal talents of Nino Martini, an opera singer who had previously appeared in the films Give Us This Night and Here's to Romance. Martini's character, Don Pasquale, is charming and likable, blending Old World sophistication with a childlike innocence.

Ida Lupino, who had already established herself as a talented actress in Hollywood, shines in her dual role as Rosita and Sally. Her portrayal of the two characters is both nuanced and captivating, and her chemistry with Martini is palpable.

Leo Carrillo, a character actor known for his roles in films like Viva Villa! and Charlie Chan at the Opera, brings a touch of class to the proceedings as Mr. Sampson's butler, Miguel. His droll one-liners and impeccable mannerisms add an air of sophistication to the film that offsets the more slapstick elements.

Director Rouben Mamoulian, who had previously helmed the classic films Applause and Love Me Tonight, injects The Gay Desperado with his trademark visual flair. The film is beautifully shot, with lush Technicolor cinematography that highlights the film's art deco sets and exquisite costumes.

The Gay Desperado is a charming and whimsical film that showcases the talents of its impressive cast and crew. It's a delightful piece of cinematic escapism that transports viewers to a bygone era of Hollywood glamour and musicality.

The Gay Desperado
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 26 min
  • IMDB Rating
    6.1  (303)