The music of Rimsky-Korsakov and eye value of brilliant color give Song of Scheherazade entertainment elements not otherwise found in the fluffy, ineptly directed and played story. Score contains 10 Rimsky-Korsakov tunes, ably adapted to the screen by Miklos Rozsa.
Basis for display of composer’s muscle is his supposed escapades during a week in Spanish Morocco. Story has a comic-opera flavor, and Walter Reisch’s direction of his own script often wavers in the treatment of plot elements and characters. Adding to ludicrous spots are a variety of accents, topped by the Broadwayese and 20th-century flippancy tossed into the 1865 period by Eve Arden. Plot purports to be based on an incident in Rimsky-Korsakov’s life, when he was a midshipman in the Russian Navy, and is aimed at showing the influence the background had on his music.
Jean-Pierre Aumont plays the young composer. Yvonne De Carlo is the Spanish dancer with whom he falls in love during the week’s adventuring. Brian Donlevy does a chain-smoking captain of the training ship who tries to make his students the pride of the Russian navy.