The Cuban Love Song

The Cuban Love Song is a 1931 American pre-Code musical film directed by W. S. Van Dyke and written by C. Gardner Sullivan, Bess Meredyth, John Lynch, John Colton, Gilbert Emery, Robert E. Hopkins and Paul Hervey Fox. The film stars Lawrence Tibbett, Lupe Vélez, Ernest Torrence, Jimmy Durante, Karen Morley and Louise Fazenda. The film was released on December 5, 1931, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.[1][2]

The Cuban Love Song
Theatrical release poster
Directed byW. S. Van Dyke
Produced byAlbert Lewin
Screenplay byC. Gardner Sullivan
Bess Meredyth
John Lynch
John Colton
Gilbert Emery
Robert E. Hopkins
Paul Hervey Fox
StarringLawrence Tibbett
Lupe Vélez
Ernest Torrence
Jimmy Durante
Karen Morley
Louise Fazenda
Music byHerbert Stothart
CinematographyHarold Rosson
Edited byMargaret Booth
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • December 5, 1931 (1931-12-05)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States

It was the last of four films that the baritone Tibbett made for MGM following the introduction of sound. The film received a generally favorable critical reception, but suffered badly at the box office. Nonetheless two of the film's songs, "The Cuban Love Song" and "El Manisero", were major hits.[3]


Shortly after becoming engaged to a socialite, an upper-class American named Terry enlists in the US Marine Corps to get his wild urges out of his system. He and his two friends and comrades get into many scrapes, frequently ending up in the brig. While in Cuba, however, he falls in love with Nenita a spirited young woman who sells peanuts from a small cart on the street.

Their relationship is interrupted by America's entry into World War I, and Terry is wounded in the fighting in France. He is nursed back to health by his fiancée and the two marry. More than a decade later, Terry bumps into his former comrades in New York. This reawakens memories of his carefree days in Cuba. He returns to Havana to locate Nenita, only to discover that she has died of fever. However he encounters a boy named Terry, who he realizes is the product of his passionate relationship with Nenita a decade earlier. He adopts the boy and takes him back to the United States where his wife generously welcomes both father and son home.



  1. "The Cuban Love Song (1931) - Overview". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  2. "The Cuban Love Song". TV Guide. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  3. Vogel p.83


  • Michelle Vogel. Lupe Velez: The Life and Career of Hollywood's "Mexican Spitfire". McFarland, 2012.

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