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1801, in Vienna, two young women, his pupils, are in love with him. Thérèse de Brunswick's love remains unrequited even though she and Beethoven are engaged for years; Juliette Guicciardi, whom Beethoven loves but who marries a count, regrets that decision, but by then he and Thérèse are engaged. When Beethoven loses Juliette, he moves to the mill at Heiligenstadt; realizing he's becoming deaf, profound depression sets in. He rejects suicide, holding on to remembered sound and to his work, a dedication assisted by Thérèse and others. In later years, we see his devotion to an ungrateful and thieving nephew, his poverty, the isolation of deafness, and the love of friends. Written by
This film is one of over 200 titles in the list of independent feature films made available for television presentation by Advance Television Pictures announced in Motion Picture Herald 4 April 1942. At this time, television broadcasting was in its infancy, almost totally curtailed by the advent of World War II, and would not continue to develop until 1945-1946. Because of poor documentation (feature films were often not identified by title in conventional sources) no record has yet been found of its initial television broadcast. See more »
A pretentious effort to glorify Beethoven falling down to bathos all the way.
A disaster of a film. Everything is wrong. Nothing works, except the costumes, the one thing in the film which deserves admiration. Beethoven himself is totally unconvincing as a big fat lurch, while in reality he was small and inconspicuous. The intentions of the film are honest and good enough but fail miserably. The invented story is illustrated by the master's music, but the constant repetition of the first bars of the fifth symphony to point out the call of Beethoven's destiny becomes annoying for its debility. The film consists of exaggerations which spoil any possibility of any dramaturgy or realism. The final death scene is unbearably painful, since he never seems to die. The women cry incessantly all through the film turning it into a sentimental mess. They deserve better credit though than Harry Baur as Beethoven for at least being pretty and nice to look at. This is one of the most awkward films I have seen, perhaps though biased by the deeply convincing impression made by the outstanding Beethoven film with Gary Oldman 1994, a completely different version of "The Immortal Beloved" and also a total fake, but so much better and even realistically convincing. This effort to enthrone Beethoven as some kind of divine icon ("I believe in God and in Beethoven." - Richard Wagner, the motto of the film) is a total bathos of a turkey, and the intended apotheosis is only growing constantly more pathetic all the way. There are some sparkling moments, though, where Abel Gance's genius in spite of all succeeds in shining through, in fact, all the actors except Beethoven are quite good, especially the young Jean-Louis Barrault as the dashing nephew, but even in that case the film fails in making something out of the Beethoven drama. In reality, his nephew Karl tried to commit suicide, which was Beethoven's final spiritual death blow. It is not even hinted at here, and yet the film pretends to tell the story of Beethoven. It IS the story of Beethoven, but Beethoven himself is missing, and there is nothing in it but Abel Gance's absurdly vain pretensions. Sorry, any Beethoven film is better than this one.
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