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Jane Froman (Susan Hayward), an aspiring songstress, lands a job in radio with help from pianist Don Ross (David Wayne), whom she later marries. Jane's popularity soars, and she leaves on a European tour... but her plane crashes in Lisbon, and she is partially crippled. Unable to walk without crutches, Jane nevertheless goes on to entertain the Allied troops in World War II. Written by
Dan Navarro <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In 1952, 20th Century-Fox produced a Technicolor extravaganza devoted to the singing career of the legendary Jane Froman.
Today, most folks don't know who she was, but this film -- strangely missing from the Fox classics series -- not only shows us the kind of woman she was but treats us to one of the most amazing catalogs of music ever put on screen.
Music director Alfred Newman, with associate Ken Darby, worked with Jane Froman and Susan Hayward, who portrayed/lip synced to Froman's voice. Newman won a much-deserved Oscar for this work (beating out "Singin' in the Rain").
It's a cornucopia of 1940s popular music and is performed by one of the most amazing voices I've heard.
The film is beautifully written, tautly directed and acted to perfection. When I first saw this film in the early 60s on NBC's "Saturday Night at the Movies," Susan Hayward instantly became my favorite actress of all time. She is extraordinary as Froman, and in many ways resembled her. Hayward and Froman spent much time together, with Hayward studying Froman's movements, gestures, singing style and modeled her performance accordingly. It was an Oscar-nominated performance that was well-deserved. Thelma Ritter is at the top of her game as the nurse, Clancy, who nurses the seriously injured Froman during a near-fatal airplane crash in Spain and remained her companion/nurse the rest of her career. Ritter was a master of the wise-cracking New Yorker, who could have you cackling one minute and break your heart the next. She had me on my first viewing of "All About Eve", but this one cemented her forever at the top of my best-loved character actress pantheon.
David Wayne gives a solid performance as Froman's manager and husband. It was a marriage made of respect/mutual interest and it's portrayed that way. The romantic angle comes in the form of Rory Calhoun's character, based on the man Froman eventually married.
The Jane Froman story deserves to be remembered, and Froman deserves to be heard again and again. Come on Fox, give this film a DVD release real soon.
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