A ballet melodrama with a score by George Antheil, this is one of eight pictures directed by the legendary screenwriter Ben Hecht, one of Hollywood's most grizzled cynics. The storyline centres on a schizophrenic male ballet star (an American with a 'continental' pseudonym) who starts murdering his partners during performances of the title ballet. Hecht's plotting fulfils every hope it may conjure up, but the real delight is his dialogue, which is among the most ineffably pretentious ever heard on screen. 'Press yourself against me so hard that you're tattooed on to me' whispers our hero (Kirov) as he chats up his ballerina wife-to-be (Essen) in a seedy hotel foyer. It has a curious and quite moving integrity at heart...but it's also the Beyond the Valley of the Dolls of its day.
Specter of the Rose
Cast and crew