::Marlene Dietrich Internet Museum
by Michael Puettner Language English Language German



::1941 - The Flame of New Orleans / Die Abenteuerin

USA 1941
black & white

After two fishermen find a wedding dress floating on the Mississippi River, the legend of "Claire of New Orleans" is born: On the day of her wedding in 1840, Countess Claire Ledux disappeared and the people of New Orleans assumed that she committed suicide. Claire's story is then revealed: when the young lady first arrives in New Orleans, she sets her sights on rich bachelor banker Charles Giraud. One night at the opera, she arranges to be seated near the banker. She "faints" and Charles rushes to her aid. After the opera, Charles sends his valet, William, after Claire's maid, Clementine. The maid then tells Claire that she has arranged a meeting in the park, during which a man will "accost" Claire and Charles can come to her rescue. Unfortunately, the wrong man, river boat captain Robert Latour, stops the carriage when his monkey runs under it. Thinking he is Charles' stooge, Claire orders her chauffeur, Samuel, to drive on. When she continually refuses to stop, Robert tips the carriage over. Back in town, Charles promises to avenge Robert's attack, stating that every night he will attend to her and eliminate one man, as there are only 100,000 men in New Orleans. At a Mardi Gras party, Claire recognizes Robert with his crew. Charles approaches the sailor and challenges him to a duel. Given his choice of weapons, Robert selects knives, which awards him a distinct advantage over the banker. Fearing the worse, Claire steps forward, telling Charles that she was mistaken about Robert. The next day, Robert invites Claire to his boat for dinner, then borrows $150 to pay for it. As Claire prepares for her date with Robert, Charles arrives to propose marriage. She accepts and sends Clementine to Robert with her regrets. Believing that she needs a doctor, Robert rushes to Claire's aid, but seeing Charles in her window, he realizes the truth. Two days before their wedding, Charles holds a reception for Claire, which is attended by newly arrived Russian Zolotov. Zolotov recognizes Claire "from St. Petersburg," and later Charles' brother-in-law overhears Zolotov telling risque stories about her to his friend, Bellows. When Charles challenges Zolotov to a duel, the frightened Russian swears he was mistaken, as the girl he knew would fake "fainting spells." At that moment Claire is carried out of the room, and the next day, Charles arrives at her home to break their engagement. Instead of Claire, Charles is confronted by Lili, Claire's illegitimate cousin from St. Petersburg. With Zolotov and Bellows in tow, Charles and his brother-in-law go to the Oyster Bed Café that night to see Lili and, reluctant to be associated with a disreputable woman like her, order her to leave town. Before she can leave, however, Lili runs into Robert, who confesses his love for her cousin. Charles then approaches Robert and tells him that if he will take Lili out of New Orleans, his bank will cancel the sailor's overdue debt. At Claire's home, Robert peers through her bedroom window and deduces that Claire and Lili are one and the same. Without revealing what he has just discovered, Robert conspires with Charles to abduct Lili. Back on his boat, Robert sets Claire free, but she decides to stay the night. The next morning, Claire tells him that they will never see each other again. He tells her that the next time they do see each other, she will come to him. At her wedding, Claire sees Robert and, realizing that she truly loves him, faints, then disappears in the ensuing mêlée. As she sails away with Robert, Claire's wedding gown is thrown into the Mississippi.

Marlene Dietrich (Countess Claire Ledoux, aka Lili)
Bruce Cabot (Robert Latour)
Roland Young (Charles Giraud)
Mischa Auer (Zolotov)
Andy Devine (Andrew, The First Sailor)
Frank Jenks (Second Sailor)
Eddie Quillan (Third Sailor)
Laura Hope Crews (Auntie)
Franklin Pangborn (Bellows)
Theresa Harris (Clementine, Claire's Maid)
Clarence Muse (Samuel, Carriage Driver)
Melville Cooper (Brother-in-Law)
Anne Revere (Giraud's Sister)
Bob Evans (William)
Emily Fitzroy (Giraud's Cousin Amelia)
Virginia Sale (Giraud's Cousin Clarissa)
Dorothy Adams (Giraud's Cousin Sybil)
Gitta Alpar (Opera Singer)
Anthony Marlowe (Opera Singer)
Ted Billings (Fisherman)
Barbara Brewster (Girl with Zolotov)
Gloria Brewster (Girl with Zolotov)
Jess Lee Brooks (First Black Man at Opera)
Dorothy Darrell (Minor Role)
Joe Devlin (Fourth Sailor)
Lowell Drew (Party Guest)
Virginia Engels (Minor Role)
Rex Evans (Burly, Giraud's Butler)
Bess Flowers (Party Guest)
Joel Fluellen (Servant)
Jennifer Gray (Party Guest)
James Guilfoyle (Man on Dock)
Reed Hadley (Party Guest)
Eddie Hall (Man Listening to Tall Tale)
Sam Harris (Party Guest)
Riley Hill (Party Guest)
Shemp Howard (Oyster Bed Cafe Waiter)
Lois Lindsay (Young Girl)
Billy Mitchell (Second Black Man at Opera)
Frank Moran (Sailor in Oyster Bed Cafe)
Robert Paige (Voice of Opening off-screen Narrator)
Tony Paton (Waiter bumped by Claire)
Herbert Rawlinson (Party Guest)
Jack Raymond (Sailor)
Gus Schilling (Couturier)
Larry Steers (Street Gala Reveler)
Frank Sully (Oyster Bed Cafe Waiter)
Charlotte Treadway (Party Guest)
Mary Treen (Party Guest)
Janet Warren (Minor Role)
Poppy Wilde (Party Guest)

René Clair (director)
René Clair (producer (as Rene Clair))
Joe Pasternak (producer)
Frank Skinner (original music)
Rudolph Maté (director of photography)
Frank Gross (film editor)
Jack Otterson (art direction)
Russell A. Gausman (set decoration)
René Hubert (costume design)
Phil Karlson (assistant director)
Martin Obzina (associate art director)
Bernard B. Brown (sound supervisor)
Robert Pritchard (sound technician)
Eugene Joseff (costume jeweller)
Charles Previn (musical director)
George Parrish (composer: stock music)
Sam Perry (composer: stock music)
Vincent Mahoney (unit publicity writer)
written by Norman Krasna

«Sweet is the Blush of May» (sung by Marlene Dietrich)
«Salt O’ the Sea« (sung by the sailors)
«Oh, Joyful Day» (sung by the wedding choir) by Charles Previn (Music) and Sam Lerner (Lyrics)

2.170 Meter 79 Minutes

6 January - early March 1941

New Orleans (Orpheum), Los Angeles opening: 24 Apr 1941

Acadamy Award Nominations:
Best Art Direction (1941): AA-Best Art Direction
Best Set Decoration (1941): AA-Best Set Decoration - Russell A. Gausman