The Cuban Love Song
Cast & Crew
W. S. Van Dyke
In 1917, an American ship is about to leave San Francisco for Cuba and marines Terry, Romance and O. O. Jones are up to their usual practice of carousing when off duty. Terry's fiancée Crystal understands him and promises to wait, even though she knows he'll rarely write. Once in Havana, Terry incurs the anger of a peanut vendor named Nenita Lopez when he accidentally crashes into her cart, but her antagonism soon turns to love. Although Nenita at first refuses to make love to Terry, she soon succumbs and the two begin a passionate affair. Even when Terry gets a letter from Crystal and realizes that he has behaved badly he cannot give Nenita up. They go away while he has a leave but are heartbroken when O. O. and Romance must take him back to the ship when they are ordered to go to France as the United States enters World War I. During a battle, Terry is badly wounded in the leg and sent back home. Embittered, he at first rejects Crystal, but her kindness and love for him convinces him to go through with their marriage. Many years pass and on their tenth anniversary, they are celebrating in a New York nightclub. When the orchestra plays "The Peanut Vendor Song," which Terry and Nenita used to sing together, he becomes depressed. He then wanders the streets thinking of Nenita and accidentally finds Romance who then takes him to O. O.'s apartment, where they get very drunk. Going out to get some castor oil for O. O.'s wife Elvira, Terry boards a ship bound for Havana, and O. O. follows, thinking it's the Hoboken Ferry. Once in Cuba, Terry has difficulty locating Nenita, then learns that she has recently died. While visiting her grave, he hears a young boy singing "The Peanut Vendor Song," and discovers that the boy is his own son by Nenita. When their ship arrives in New York, Terry is greeted by Crystal who wants to continue being his wife and a mother to Terry, Jr. Both Terrys joyfully agree.
W. S. Van Dyke
Ernesto Lecuona And The Palau Brothers' Cuban Orchestra
Paul Hervey Fox
Robert E. Hopkins
Two of the film's songs, "The Cuban Love Song" and "The Peanut Vendor Song (El manisero)," were among the most popular tunes of the year and were representative of the increasing popularity of the Rhumba and other Latin American inspired music during the 1930s. This was opera star Lawrence Tibbett's last film for several years, before returning to the screen in Metropolitan, a 1935 Twentieth Century-Fox film. He appeared exclusively on the operatic stage and in concerts during his absence from the screen. One sequence in the picture features Tibbett singing "The Cuban Love Song" in a duet with himself by the use of a split-screen technique which shows the character "Terry" singing while his "conscience" sings with him. The Variety review incorrectly attributed the role of "Elvira" to Hale Hamilton and did not list Louise Fazenda at all.