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Marjorie Lawrence crowds her life with excitement and achievement from the day she leaves her Australian home and goes to Paris to study voice. After a triumphal debut at the Paris Opera she becomes famous overnight, and her debut at the Met in New York establishes her as one of the great singers of her time. With all her dreams come true, tragedy strikes in the form of infantile paralysis and she faces a life of confinement to a wheelchair. Although she reaches the depths of despair, she manages through the love and devotion of her husband, Dr. Tom King (Glenn Ford), she begins to build a new career by singing to servicemen who, like herself, are confined to wheelchairs. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Eleanor Parker can read music and has perfect pitch as a singer. She decided to study the scores of the opera songs used in this film on her own. She rented a cabin in Lake Arrowhead, California, and played the records while singing along until she had the breathing and phrasing memorized. Then when filming the scenes, instead of lip-synching to the tracks recorded by Eileen Farrell for the movie, she sang full voice (but an octave lower). She is proud of the fact that they never had to do a re-take in order to "match" the tapes--she nailed it on the first take every time. See more »
After Marjorie sings "Annie Laurie" and she wheels herself into the kitchen and she suggests a concert tour, right as she and Dr. King are embracing . See more »
MGM fashioned a sumptuous, full-scale production in bringing the career of Australian opera diva Marjorie Lawrence to the screen. Heading the cast as Lawrence is the fine Eleanor Parker, in one of her most impressive roles. Co-starring as her supportive doctor-husband is the talented Glenn Ford. Both are most convincing in relaying the inspirational "real life" story of their struggle with physical- career- and marital-obstacles.
Whether Lawrence did in fact sing roles which included lyric soprano, dramatic soprano, mezzo and Wagnerian, as depicted here, is open to question. Still, it is lovely to see these excerpts staged so beautifully, and in gorgeous Technicolor. Of invaluable assistance is the magnificent voice of Eileen Farrell in a remarkably varied repertoire.
It may not be possible to experience the real impact of these scenes unless there is a special house revival with a full-sized Cinemascope screen and stereo sound. The formats of VHS and even DVD to not do justice to the original production.
Although Lawrence assisted on the script, the actual unfoldment has the ring of fact merging with fiction for maximum dramatic impact. Now that Lawrence's 30's and 40's career is but a memory in the minds of a few, what remains is this romanticized version of history. As such, lovers of romantic drama and of music may revel in a tale of ardor and challenge, with the artistic product being the "fusion of the arts": grand opera.
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