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Dixiana (1930)


Dixiana, a circus performer is wooed by two men, a plantation owner's son and a crooked gambler. Mystic Nights Videos

Dixiana (1930) is a lavish American musical film directed by Luther Reed and produced and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures. The final third of the picture was photographed in Technicolor. The film stars Bebe Daniels, Everett Marshall, Wheeler & Woolsey, Joseph Cawthorn, Jobyna Howland, Ralf Harolde and Bill Robinson (in his film debut). The script was adapted by Luther Reed from a story by Anne Caldwell.
The Technicolor sequences were considered lost for years, but were re-discovered in 1988 and subsequently included in the restored DVD.
In 1958, the film entered the List of films in the public domain in the United States due to the claimants failure to renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.<></>
This is the film on which composer Max Steiner got his first screen credit. Additionally, it was Wheeler & Woolsey's third film; however, as they were not yet an official "team," they were still billed separately.


Dixiana Caldwell, along with her friends, Pewee and Ginger, are circus perfomers in the Antebellum era South. When she falls in love with a young southern aristocrat, Carl Van Horn, she leaves the circus where she is employed and travels with Carl to his family's plantation. Pewee and Ginger follow along. At first thrilled with the news of their impending nuptials, Carl's father and stepmother, Cornelius and Birdie Van Horn, throw a lavish party for the couple. However, Pewee and Ginger inadvertently disclose Dixiana's background as a circus performer, creating a scandal for the elder Van Horns.
Asked to leave in disgrace, Dixiana returns to New Orleans, seeking to gain re-employment from her former employer at the Cayetano Circus Theatre, but is used, due to way she had departed. Desperate, she takes employment at a local gambling hall, run by Royal Montague, who also has personal designs on Dixiana. As part of his plan, he intends to financially ruin Carl and his family, and use Dixiana to accomplish that purpose.
Things come to a head when Dixiana is crowned Queen of the Mardi Gras. When Montague absconds with her, Carl challenges him to a duel, but when a disguised Dixiana shows up in his stead, she tricks Montague into revealing his nefarious plans. Carl and Dixiana are reunited.


  • Bebe Daniels as Dixiana Caldwell
  • Everett Marshall (actor) as Carl Van Horn
  • Bert Wheeler as Peewee
  • Robert Woolsey as Ginger Dandy
  • Joseph Cawthorn as Cornelius Van Horn
  • Jobyna Howland as Birdie Van Horn
  • Dorothy Lee (actress) as Poppy
  • Ralf Harolde as Royal Montague
  • Eddy Chandler as Blondell
  • George Herman (actor) as Contortionist
  • Raymond Maurel as Cayetano
  • Bruce Covington as Company porter
  • Bill Robinson as Specialty Dancer
  • Eugene Jackson as Cupid
(Cast list as per AFI database)< name=AFI></>


Reviewer Mordaunt Hall of the New York Times wrote of the singing, " wishes there was more of it and less of the somewhat futile attempt at a story," noted that Bill Robinson " an excellent exhibition of tap dancing, which won a genuine round of applause," and concluded, "The early glimpses of the circus theatre ... lead one to expect more than one is apt to get out of this production."
The film reunited the director and most of the cast of RKO's most successful film of the year before, Rio Rita (1929 film), but lackluster performances and direction, as well as a glut of movie musicals led to the film being one of RKO's biggest disappointments of 1930. The film lost an estimated $300,000.< name="rko"/>< name=RKO2></>

Category:1930 films
Category:1930s musical films
Category:RKO Pictures films
Category:Films set in New Orleans, Louisiana

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