Cast & Crew
En route to the Russian port of Krasnov, the ocean liner New Moon sails through the Caspian Sea. Lieutenant Michael Petroff, a passenger aboard the ship, sings a bawdy song on the ship's deck until he espies the lovely Princess Tanya Strogoff. When the princess, feigning ignorance, asks Michael to translate the lyrics of his song, he fears that she will report him, so he cleans up the song for her. After listening to Michael's version of the tune, Tanya plays the song on the piano and sings it in its original gypsy language. Michael soon realizes that Tanya is flirting with him and that her parents, Count Igor and Countess Anastasia Strogoff, consider their daugther to be a wayward soul. A shipboard romance between Michael and Tanya ensues and is sealed by a moonlight duet six hours prior to the end of their journey. When the ocean liner docks in Krasnov, Tanya informs Michael that she will be staying at the governor's residence and then bids him farewell. Tanya is met by her fiancé, Governor Boris Brusiloff, whom her father calls "boudoir Boris" because of his reputation as a playboy. Convinced that the engaged Tanya has spurned him, the distraught Michael goes to the Caspian Tavern, where he tells his friend Potkin that women are a dishonest lot. Later, Michael finds the courage to seek out Tanya at the governor's mansion, where a grand ball is in progress. Tanya does not love Boris and is only marrying him for his money, so when he tries to kiss her, she thwarts his advances. Although Tanya prefers Michael, when he humiliates her in the ballroom, she tells him that their affair was a mere shipboard flirtation. While Michael takes the princess into another room and demands an explanation, Igor tries but fails to keep Boris from discovering them. Boris punishes Michael for having an affair with his fiancée by ordering him to take over the command of Fort Darvaz, a dangerous distant outpost in the Caucasus Mountains, where previous commanders have been killed by their own soldiers. Michael leaves the governor's palace singing an angry tune, in which he further humiliates the princess. When Michael and his regiment arrive at the gates of Fort Darvaz, they witness the gruesome sight of a captain, who has had his eyes gouged out, driven over the edge of a cliff to his death. Michael soon restores order to the fort by eliminating or threatening those who question his command. Tanya pays the fort a surpirse visit, and she strikes Michael for his previous insults, but then admits that she loves him. While she is there, the fort comes under attack from the warring Turkomans. Because things look bad for Fort Darvaz, Michael and Tanya marry before he leaves to lead his troops in a raid on the enemy's camp. While Tanya and her father await Michael's return, Boris arrives and, certain that Michael has been defeated, allows Count Strogoff to convince him that the lieutenant should be honored with medals and a promotion for his heroics. To everyone's amazement, however, Michael returns the victor and joins Tanya in a song as he approaches the fort.
Oscar Hammerstein Ii
Oliver T. Marsh
The Variety and other reviews list a running time of 85 minutes for the film, although the 7,018 foot length listed in copyright records indicates a running time of 77-78 minutes. According to a New York Times pre-release news item, M-G-M conducted a study of the motion picture market and concluded that this film should have as few songs as possible. Modern sources indicate that more than half of the operetta's original score was eliminated for the picture. The setting of the original operetta was Paris. Although Motion Picture Herald production charts list actors Hale Hamilton, Babe London and Marie Mosquini in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been determined. While modern sources claim that the songs "Softly (As in a Morning Sunrise)," "Funny Little Sailor Men" and "Marianne" were featured in the film, the songs were not included in the viewed print. The Variety review noted that Metropolitan Opera singers Grace Moore and Lawrence Tibbett possessed "possibly the screen's top pairs of pipes." A 1940 M-G-M remake of New Moon was directed by Robert Z. Leonard and starred Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy (see below).