In 1902 London, unhappily married Philip Marshall meets young Mary Gray, who is unemployed and depressed. Their deepening friendship, though physically innocent, is discovered by Philip's ... See full summary »
George Harvey Bone is a composer in early 20th century London, who is under stress because he is writing a piano concerto. Due to this stress, he gets black outs when ever he hears dissonances. When he finds himself after the black out in a different quarter of the town, he returns home, to read in the paper that somebody in that quarter was murdered. Asking help from a doctor at Scotland Yard he is assured that he has nothing to do with it, but he is advised to cut back in his work and get some relaxation like other, ordinary people. At a cheap musical he meets Netta, a singer, who inspires him for a new motive for his concerto. But Netta discovers that this motive could also be used as a song for her. The song gets sold, and she hangs around George to get more songs out of him. George believes that Netta is in love with him, and gets in an argument with his girlfriend Barbara, the daughter of Lord Henry, who wants the concerto for one of his soirées. George has another black out, ... Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the book "A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann", John Brahm said like this about the concerto scene: "For a long time, I had been dissatisfied with the photography of music in films. Musicians themselves are uninteresting; it is what they play that should be photographed. I myself could not read a note of music, but when Herrmann came and saw the finished film he could not believe it. I had photographed his music." See more »
The date of the action is 1899 but a theatre programme is dated 1903. See more »
Look! It's old Ogilby's place!
See more »
Opening credits: This is the story of George Harvey Bone who resided at number 12 Hangover Square, London SW in the early part of the twentieth century. The British Catalogue of Music lists him as a distinguished composer... See more »
Although this film adaptation of Patrick Hamilton's novel is a very loose and free one, this is nevertheless a marvelous film with a rich and ominous atmosphere. The direction and performances are excellent, the production values are lavish, and the music score is unforgettable. HANGOVER SQUARE marks the final film performance of Laird Cregar, a brilliant actor under contract to the 20th Century-Fox studio, in his first and final starring role before his tragic and premature death. The film is similar to Fox's 1944 success, THE LODGER, also starring Cregar (although third-billed in the credits) and directed by the imaginative John Brahm. However, due to its brilliant music score by Bernard Herrmann and impressive black-and-white cinematography by Joseph LaShelle, I like HANGOVER SQUARE better.
Cregar gives a haunting performance as George Harvey Bone, a brilliant yet insecure classical composer who suffers mysterious blackouts each time he hears loud, dissonant noises. During these blackouts he becomes a homicidal maniac, roaming the foggy nocturnal streets of Edwardian London and having little recollection of his murderous acts afterward. It's a Jekyll-and-Hyde role that really provides evidence of Cregar's phenomenal acting skills. The gorgeous Linda Darnell plays a cunning and very sexy pub performer who wins George's heart. And George Sanders provides suave support as a doctor of Scotland Yard, a role which dissatisfied Sanders because he complained about the quality of his lines in the script. Special mention should go to Alan Napier as George's conductor of his piano concerto. But this is Laird Cregar's film the whole way and the film is carried by his presence.
Aside from the performances, my favorite aspects of the film are Joseph LaShelle's cinematography and Bernard Herrmann's powerful music score. LaShelle, who won an Oscar for his camera-work in LAURA (1944), offers stunning crane shots, subjective camera shots, and atmospheric light-and-shadow shots that many film noir cinematographers would be envious of. The film's opening shot, consisting of all three types of shots in one take, is a marvel to behold. And Bernard Herrmann offers a haunting piano concerto ("Concerto Macabre") that literally brings down the house, consisting of thunderous opening chords and lovely cadenzas by the piano. Some of John Brahm's best directing abilities are present during the film's concerto scene.
The film has finally been released on DVD as part of the Fox Horror Classics box set, consisting of a good transfer and two informative audio commentaries. Although Brahm's THE UNDYING MONSTER (1943) and THE LODGER are also included, HANGOVER SQUARE is my favorite film in the collection. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, which would make a perfect triple feature with THE LODGER and THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (1945).
To all those involved in this film: Bravo!
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?