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Humoresque (1946) More at IMDbPro »

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Humoresque -- Joan Crawford and John Garfield star in this Oscar-nominated romantic drama about a classical musician from the slums who is sidetracked by his love for a wealthy neurotic.
Humoresque -- Trailer for this classic based on the novel


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Down 10% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Clifford Odets (screenplay) and
Zachary Gold (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Humoresque on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 December 1946 (USA) See more »
A classical musician from the slums is sidetracked by his love for a wealthy, neurotic socialite. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
The Hollywood Movie as Dream and Nightmare See more (61 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Joan Crawford ... Helen Wright

John Garfield ... Paul Boray

Oscar Levant ... Sid Jeffers

J. Carrol Naish ... Rudy Boray
Joan Chandler ... Gina Romney
Tom D'Andrea ... Phil Boray
Peggy Knudsen ... Florence Boray
Ruth Nelson ... Esther Boray

Craig Stevens ... Monte Loeffler

Paul Cavanagh ... Victor Wright
Richard Gaines ... Bauer

John Abbott ... Rozner

Robert Blake ... Paul Boray as a Child (as Bobby Blake)
Tommy Cook ... Phil Boray as a Child
Don McGuire ... Eddie
Fritz Leiber ... Hagerstrom
Peg La Centra ... Night Club Singer (as Peg LaCentra)
Nestor Paiva ... Orchestra Leader
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gary Armstrong ... Boy on street (uncredited)
Sylvia Arslan ... Gina as a Girl (uncredited)

Patricia Barry ... Fritzie - Bauer's Secretary (uncredited)
Monte Blue ... Moving Man (uncredited)
Harlan Briggs ... Jeffers - Toy Shop Proprietor (uncredited)
Eric DeLamarter ... Orchestra Conductor (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Boray Fan (uncredited)
Angela Greene ... Tipsy Blonde at Party (uncredited)
Creighton Hale ... Professor (uncredited)
Jane Harker ... Redhead Snob with Sid at Party (uncredited)
Ann Lawrence ... Florence as a Girl (uncredited)
Esther Michelson ... Mrs. Klein (uncredited)
Paul Panzer ... Theater Worker (uncredited)
Don Turner ... Man with Dog (uncredited)
Richard Walsh ... Teddy (uncredited)

Directed by
Jean Negulesco 
Writing credits
Clifford Odets (screenplay) and
Zachary Gold (screenplay)

Fannie Hurst (short story "Humoresque")

Produced by
Jerry Wald .... producer
Jack L. Warner .... executive producer
Cinematography by
Ernest Haller (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Rudi Fehr 
Art Direction by
Hugh Reticker 
Set Decoration by
Clarence Steensen 
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist
Edwin Allen .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Della Barnes .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Gertrude Wheeler .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Production Management
Louis Baum .... unit manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Herbert S. Greene .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Philip Quinn .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Donald P. Desmond .... set construction (uncredited)
William Wallace .... props (uncredited)
Levi C. Williams .... props (uncredited)
Sound Department
Charles David Forrest .... sound (as David Forrest)
Robert B. Lee .... sound
Special Effects by
Roy Davidson .... special effects director
Willard Van Enger .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Ralph Burbank .... gaffer: stills (uncredited)
Paul Butler .... best boy (uncredited)
James Geldenhar .... gaffer (uncredited)
William Schurr .... second camera (uncredited)
Jack Woods .... still photographer (uncredited)
Stanley Young .... grip (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Adrian .... wardrobe: Miss Crawford
Bernard Newman .... wardrobe
Mary Dery .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Ralph Hibbs .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Jeanette Storck .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Vic Vallejo .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director
Isaac Stern .... music advisor
Franz Waxman .... conductor
Leonid Raab .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Isaac Stern .... musician (solo violin: John Garfield ) (uncredited)
Franz Waxman .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Other crew
Herschel Daugherty .... dialogue director
James Leicester .... montages
Alma Dwight .... script clerk (uncredited)
Oscar Levant .... technical adviser (uncredited)
John Mitchell .... unit publicist (uncredited)
John Strauss .... publicist (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
125 min | West Germany:115 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Australia:G (TV rating) | Finland:S | Germany:12 (DVD rating) | Sweden:Btl | USA:Approved (certificate #11490) | West Germany:16 (nf)

Did You Know?

For the scene where Helen falls off the horse, Joan Crawford performed the stunt herself. Relieved that it had gone well, she nevertheless was forced to the stunt again when it was decided that Paul (John Garfield)'s rushing over and laying on top of her was too racy. It was reshot, and instead, Helen lies on top of Paul. Crawford later remarked: "I couldn't really understand what was the difference, him on top of me or me on top of him. Well, the difference was I had to fall off the horse again. I did, and I lived to tell the tale."See more »
Continuity: Outside the beach house owned by Helen Wright (Joan Crawford), there is an ornate lantern on top of a post by the stairs leading from the house's terrace to the beach. In early sequences, the lantern has no glass and a bare light bulb is visible. Later sequences show the lantern with its glass installed, concealing the bulb.See more »
Sid Jeffers:Oh, Mrs. Wright, this is my friend,Paul Boray; and any friend of mine is not welcome here, I'm sure.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Hollywood: The Great Stars (1963) (TV)See more »
LiebestodSee more »


See more »
61 out of 71 people found the following review useful.
The Hollywood Movie as Dream and Nightmare, 18 February 2003
Author: mackjay from Out there in the dark

In many ways, HUMORESQUE represents the Hollywood movie working in terms of both dream and nightmare. The opening section, with its deep shadows and highly stylized line delivery, has nightmarish overtones. From here, the film enters flashback, nearly always a dream-like experience for the viewer (and an important reason why many films from this period are so compelling). This film is the 'dream' of having one's wishes come true. Because it is a dream that purports to take place in a 'real world' (the Warner Bros.' version of that world), it also incorporates darker aspects of wish fulfillment. Young Paul (very well realized by Robert Blake) achieves his fantasy of becoming not only a real violinist, but a world-class one. But there are prices to be paid: his mother's frustration, a childhood girlfriend's disappointment, the self-destruction of a lonely, love-starved woman, and his own tragic realization of these costs. John Garfield's naturalistic acting contributes to one of this actor's legacy of memorable performances. There is never any doubt that this character is real. And this is an important factor, since the entire film can be viewed as Paul's dream/nightmare.

The film pivots on one brilliant sequence: as Paul performs the Lalo, with Helen (Joan Crawford), Gina (Joan Chandler) and the mother (Ruth Nelson) in attendance. We see Helen in an obvious sexual ecstasy, alone, high up in her privileged box. Her face is magnified to full-screen size as she is engulfed by the music. Meanwhile, Gina is the pained witness of this performance from below. She is unable to stand it, and must flee. Mother, on the other hand, observes it all with a troubled understanding. It could be seen as in psychological terms as the 'mother' divided into three parts, none of which can be satisfied. The only result can be tragic, or at least unfulfilled.

HUMORESQUE contains Joan Crawford's best performance. Only the next film she made, POSSESSED can equal it. Watching after MILDRED PIERCE reveals a more nuanced, intelligent kind of acting, something she learned while playing the Oscar-winning role: we can see the influence of both Zachary Scott and Garfield in the bar scenes. And the scenes with Helen's husband (Paul Cavanagh) are among the most adult, intelligently acted moments in the film. They are also a testament to the talent of director Jean Negulesco.

Besides the three-way 'mother' pull on Paul is his ambiguous relationship with Sid Jeffers (Oscar Levant), who is, in a sense, also a 'mother' figure: nurturing Paul's talents and accompanying his entire career in one way or another. The two men live together, first out of financial necessity, then out of an unspoken, mutual emotional need. Sid's attachment to Paul remains undefined throughout. Oscar Levant is a major part of the film's effect: he has the perfect style for sarcastic, but not mean, line-delivery. And the frequent humorous interjections help to prevent the film from becoming weighed down by the intense main narrative.

Music in this film adds a great deal to its dreamlike qualities. Even though little of the music, before the end, has the sensuality associated with a dream experience, the virtuoso pieces used are perfect vehicles for the 'dreamer' to act out his role as the center of this closed universe. He performs, and the other characters can only accompany (a very secondary role here) or react by applauding. In the end, a rather odd arrangement of music from TRISTAN UND ISOLDE--which culminates in the 'Liebestod' ('Love-Death')--brings the film into the realm of pure dream. Helen's self-destruction is played out against music of pure sensuality and psychic release. Only the deep waters of oblivion can provide a conclusion.

HUMORESQUE is a fine example of why Hollywood film from the classic period can have a lasting fascination and appeal.

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Fantastic movie! pepe58season
The songs performed by Peg La Centra as84
girl on piano, what song? alydar21
I enjoyed this movie, but... PabloDuganheim
O Levant keeps things light.... ksf-2
The music of Humoresque (1946) AbedsBrother
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