Cast & Crew
Ramón García, possessed by an uncontrollable passion for gambling, forges the signature of his father, a judge, in order to pay off his debts. Pierre Dupont, a professional gambler who wants to marry Ramón's sister María, discovers the fraud and threatens to reveal it. When María begs Dupont not to destroy her brother, he takes advantage of the situation and forces himself upon her. Ramón, armed with a revolver, witnesses the scene. A shot is heard and moments later Dupont is found dead. Despite all the evidence against him, Ramón declares his innocence. Pedro, María's journalist fiancé, succeeds in discovering the real killer, José, a waiter, who is madly in love with a dancer whom Dupont has also been pursuing.
This film's working title was Noches habaneras. It was the first feature-length, North American film to be shot in Spanish. Havana-born René Cardona's production company was originally called Cuban International Film Prod., but became Hispania Talking Film Corp. when he went into partnership with Rodolfo Montes. It is assumed that the story is set in Cuba. According to contemporary sources, part of the film's negative was destroyed in a fire at the Consolidated Laboratory on October 24, 1929. A private preview was held at Eastman's theater on 19 November 1929.
Information in La Opinión, Los Angeles's Spanish-language newspaper, indicates that the film's first public showing, at the Teatro Mexico in Los Angeles on December 4, 1929, had to be abandoned due to sound problems and was rescheduled for 6 Dec. Later, the film played the Teatro Hidalgo in mid-May 1930, in an improved version with changes in editing and sound synchronization. A news item in Film Daily of October 6, 1929, reported that a silent version and an English version, titled Havana Shadows, were also planned, but their production has not been confirmed. Jacqueline Logan's voice was dubbed by an unidentified Cuban actress. The film played in San Juan, Puerto Rico in February 1930 under the title Bajo el cielo de La Habana.