The Eddy Duchin Story (1956) Poster

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Music, Cinematography, Beautiful People, Great Actors, well cast
Lolly222221 February 2006
If you like to watch actors who are skilled, have on screen chemistry to die for (and they do) and enjoy cinematography that might make you want to take a stroll in Central Park, then rent, buy, borrow this CD and sit back and watch it over and over and over again. This is a well adapted screen play that moves through a life, tells the story well and makes this love story very believable and of course tragic. Watch the life of an extraordinary talent and sit back and enjoy. Tyrone Power never disappoints and if you can capture his voice and keep it in a bottle, you would And Kim Novak is stunning, sweeping and is well cast. As Marjorie Oelrich she couldn't be more perfect. Also, besides being an exceptional beauty, she, too, has a lovely voice. In a very understated way, you want her to go on and on and on. James Whitmore always delivers. All cast members are charming. You'll love the actor who plays Lou Reisman, the orchestra leader at the Central Park Casino. Enjoy folks. This one is a keeper. OHHHHHHHHHHH, you'll be amazed at how well Tyrone Power plays the piano, or seemingly appears to be playing. The music!!!! Oh, the music.

Now to the truth. There are many changes to the real story of Eddy Duchin. Peter Duchin was raised by Marie (he called Ma) and Averell Harriman. Peter's mother, Marjorie Oelrichs, died in July. Not as depicted in the film after Eddy Duchin's radio show from the Central Park Casino in the Winter, Christmas. The Harriman's are portrayed as the Wadsworth's. Why? I don't know why but if you read Peter Duchin's book "A Ghost of a Chance", you will get more of the inside scoop. Still a wonderful film.

I don't believe the young actor Rex Thompson was even close to Peter Duchin's persona. But that's my story.
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Predictable... handsome... and sentimental!
Nazi_Fighter_David23 September 2000
Warning: Spoilers
With the help of Marjorie Oelrichs (Kim Novak), a charming socialite he has met at New York's Central Park Casino, Eddy Duchin was part of the two piano team featured by Leo Reisman (Larry Keating) Orchestra in the late 1920's..

Duchin's distinctive playing wins him rapid fame... His measured weight of fingering ensured a balance between poetry and purpose... Every sound conceivable was possible in his artistic palette... He played wonderful music... His piano tone itself was gorgeous and versatile... He amazed audiences with his immense vigor, virtuosity and daring technique... He was soon a darling of Marjorie and high society...

His love affair with Marjorie culminates in marriage... but the perfect happiness is short-lived as Marjorie fades away in child-birth on Christmas Eve...

Heartbroken, Duchin declines to accept his baby blaming him for Marjorie's death and turns him over to Marjorie's uncle and aunt to be cared and raised, and embarks an overseas concert tour with his friend & manager, Lou Sherwood (James Whitmore).

During World War II, while serving as Naval Lieutenant Commander in the Pacific, Duchin realizes the futility of his attitude about his son, now ten, but his attempts to reconcile with him failed because of the boy's resentment...

With the help of Chiquita (Victoria Shaw) Peter's pretty nanny, he finally wins his son over and with his ability to charm as well as to thrill audiences, he proves himself as the pianist of sentiment par excellence... Nothing equaled the lightness & sweetness of his preluding on the piano...

But tragedy once again overtakes Duchin's daisy fingers as he learns he is suffering from leukemia and has only a short time to live...

Duchin's passing from the scene playing a "little double piano" with Peter is a duo-handkerchief climax...

Tyrone Power won the hearts of the audience playing the pianist and bandleader Eddy Duchin... He does not interpret music, he exudes it, breathes it, compelling showmanship with great freedom, taste and intelligence...

With a stupendous distribution of Duchin's fine piano, the film is predictable, handsome & sentimental...
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enjoyable tearjerker
blanche-26 December 2004
This was one of my favorite movies as a kid - not only does it have great musical sequences, but it is a real tearjerker. I read recently that this movie just about ruined the life of Peter Duchin, Eddy's son. I can't imagine what it must be like to be a character in such a popular film that shows up on AMC just before you play your next gig.

George Sidney did a beautiful job of directing, and no expense was spared for this Technicolor movie filmed on location in New York. There are so many great shots of the city -- if you're familiar with New York, watching the movie is all that much more enjoyable. The film appears to follow the structure of Duchin's actual life but how much is fact and how much is fiction is hard to say. What is fact is that Carmen Cavallero does a divine job dubbing the piano, and Tyrone Power's fingerings are excellent. He apparently worked at them night and day, and the result was worth it.

There are some wonderful scenes in the film, one of the best being when Duchin talks about his love for Marjorie to Chiquita, who is about to become his new wife. It's such a beautiful monologue about how you can be young and love someone the way he did Marjorie only once, watch your parents age only once etc. - needless to say, hearing that little speech today means more to me now than it did when I was 14. Another great scene is Eddy and a little boy playing chopsticks on a rickety piano in wartime; and, of course, Eddy talking to his son at the playground toward the end of the film.

Tyrone Power knew Eddy Duchin personally as he knew just about everyone, and his portrayal is masterful. In the beginning, however, he's the young Eddy and it's obvious that he's way too old to be fresh out of college. Power was 41 at the time of the filming, and it wasn't the 41 of 2006 - it was a 1950s, three-pack-a-day, party all night, I fought in World War II 41 - hello. You would have thought that the lighting man and cameramen would have worked just a tad harder - we're talking about Tyrone Power here, not some nobody. A little star treatment, please. Instead, Power ends up looking younger in the second half of the film. Ridiculous.

There are lots of posts about Kim Novak, who is very beautiful though vapid as Marjorie, but not much mention of the beautiful Australian actress, Victoria Shaw, who played Chiquita. Like Power and Duchin, she died young. She does an excellent job in the movie. One of the comments suggested the character of Chiquita is fictional; in fact, Duchin's widow was indeed Chiquita Wynn Duchin, and in 1947, Peter Duchin left the Harrimans to live with his father and his stepmother.

Rex Thompson plays the young Peter Duchin and though he makes a game try at hiding his British accent, he sounds British. As a young adult, Thompson was a handsome and fine actor - he worked into his twenties, and then faded from view. In real life, Peter Duchin went on to marry Margaret Sullavan's daughter, Brooke Hayward.

It's hard to hold back the tears during "The Eddy Duchin Story," so don't try. Enjoy the romance and be enveloped in a more gentile world where people had some class, and listen to that great music.
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Tyrone Power is excellent in this delightful biopic of the popular pianist...
Peter Andres5 January 2007
The fine musical scenes and Tyrone Power's excellent performance are among the highlights of THE EDDY DUCHIN STORY, filmed in spectacular CinemaScope and containing lavish production values and fine performances from its cast. It's sensitively directed by George Sidney, a veteran director of M-G-M musicals, and—as one reviewer may have pointed out—the film is indeed a lovely Valentine to Eddie Duchin's memory.

The film is a delight to watch and is highly enjoyable yet quite tragic in places. However, there are flaws within the film due to the sentimental music score and some unbelievably saccharine and fanciful scenes. But the fine performances and direction, as well as the beautifully filmed music sequences, make up for such flaws. I felt the same way about the George Gershwin biopic, RHAPSODY IN BLUE (1945).

Tyrone Power's performance as the talented and popular pianist is one of Ty's very best performances. Although Ty's looks remain middle-aged throughout the entire film, his transition from a young pianist in the 1920s to a World War II veteran battling leukemia is entirely believable. The film was a box-office hit in 1956 and was nominated for four Oscars…but sadly, Tyrone Power was not nominated. I presume that it had to do with his "pretty boy" matinée idol roles at 20th Century-Fox in the past, which were roles that Ty hated playing and did little to enhance his reputation as an actor.

THE EDDY DUCHIN STORY is well worth watching, even more so for its piano sequences. And did I mention the hauntingly gorgeous Kim Novak? She stole my heart for about a half-hour, and she and Ty have nice chemistry together...even though she and Ty did not get along very well off-camera.
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'Oil of Olay'
Bob-4513 September 2004
Expecting to be bored but knowing my wife would love the music, I sat through 'The Eddie Duchin Story.' I'd never heard of Duchin, except to know his son, Peter, was a fine pianist. Earlier in the evening, I'd endured 'The Passion of the Christ,' and I really wasn't in the mood for another downbeat movie. Much to my surprise, I loved every aspect of 'Duchin.' Columbia's 'Monroe,' Kim Novak got top billing, much to my surprise, since Tyrone Power was still a top matinée idol. Well, let me tell you, whatever jokes you've heard about Novak, you'll forget them when you see her a Marjorie, Duchin's doomed socialite wife. Appearing less than an hour, Novak's grace and sweetness permeates the whole movie. You'll adore Novak as much as Duchin. Power is only slightly less effective, but he has a much rougher job. Power is in his mid forties when he plays Duchin, and he must play the first hour as a man in his mid twenties. Power is so frenetic, so energetic and earnest, you fear he's going to have a heart attack. He did, three years later on 'Solomon and Sheba' and died on the spot. Anyway, back to 'Duchin.' James Whitmore is magnificent, as usual in a small role as Duchin's manager. His little bit of business putting on his hat near the end of the film perfectly captures and advance the mood of the movie. Victoria Shaw is given the thankless role of Duchin's second wife, and she hit just the right notes to make an impression without overpowering the narrative. After all, this is Duchin's story, and her part of it is a small but key part. Rex Thompson is perfect as young Peter Duchin, displaying all the emotional conflicts a child would endure with his history. He has an absolutely great scene near the end of the film, but I won't spoil by telling you what happens. Let's just say he takes of the responsibilities of manhood far younger than a child should. Warren Hsieh as the native boy, is wonderful in helping to capture the mood that is yet another turning point in Duchin's life.

Producer Jerry Wald has spared no expense at recreating a era in a manner as convincing as 'Titanic'. Director George Sydney once again proves he is skilled with a camera as he is with actors. The first kiss between Powers and Novak is seen as a reflection in a puddle. Just beautiful! George Duning provides the incredible score. Carmen Cavallaro performs the great piano classics..

I don't cry in movies too often. I didn't cry once in 'The Passion of the Christ'. But I couldn't hold back tears in many scenes in 'The Eddie Duchin Story'. That's saying a lot. Sure, 'The Eddie Duchin Story' is soap. But, there are many kinds of soap. Oil of Olay leaves you feeling fresh and clean and invigorated. So does 'The Eddie Duchin Story'. I give 'The Eddie Duchin Story' a '10'.
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A Life of Music and Tragedies
Claudio Carvalho14 September 2010
In the late 20's, the talkative newly graduated in pharmacy and aspirant piano player Eddy Duchin (Tyrone Power) comes from Boston to New York expecting to play with the orchestra of Leo Reisman (Larry Keating) at fancy New York's Central Park Casino. However he had misunderstood the invitation of the maestro and while leaving the place, he meets the wealthy socialite Marjorie Oelrichs (Kim Novak) that asks Leo Reisman to give a chance to Eddy. He plays in the intermission and becomes a successful piano showman. Two years later, Marjorie and Eddy get married and in the Christmas, Marjorie has a baby, Peter, but she dies after the delivery. Eddy rejects Peter blaming him for the death of Marjorie and only five years later he meets his son. With the World War II, Eddy Duchin breaks up his band and enlists to fight in the war. With the end of the war, Eddy returns to New York with the intention of getting closer to Peter but he sees the boy connected to his friend Chiquita (Victoria Shaw). When Eddy discovers that he has a terminal disease, he proposes Chiquita and they get married.

When we see the biography of a personality by Hollywood, we are never sure that it is a true story or a fairy tale created by the cinema industry. Despite of that, the melodramatic "The Eddy Duchin Story" is a nice story of a man's life surrounded by music, beautiful ladies and tragedies. The forty-two year-old Tyrone Power has good performance and he really seems to be playing the piano, but it is funny to see him in the role of a newly graduated man. Kim Novak shines with her beauty, elegance and her sweet voice. Victoria Shaw is also gorgeous. The cinematography and the music score are awesome and deserved the nomination to the Oscar. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Melodia Immortal" ("Immortal Melody")
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Heartbreakingly Wonderful "Eddy Duchin Story Shines" ****
edwagreen26 April 2006
Eddy Duchin's music was so beautiful. He had a magic touch at the piano. Unfortunately, his real life was so tragic.

Tyrone Power shines as Duchin. From his beginnings to success, Power evoked the right temperament in portraying this musician brilliantly.

Kim Novak, just off an awful performance in the acclaimed "Picnic," the year before, gives a wonderful supporting performance as Duchin's ill-fated first wife. Who can forget her fear of rain and thunder? Who can forget that thunder scene in the hospital as her life ends?

Victoria Shaw, as Eddy's second wife, is also quite good. She brings Eddy back so that life is worth living for him and is able to reconcile him with his young son, whose birth Duchin blamed for the death of his first wife.

We are fortunate to have had such a picture made and the legacy that Duchin left-his playing as well as his son, musician Peter Duchin.
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Pictorially, it's like a lovely Valentine to Eddie Duchin's memory...
Neil Doyle4 January 2007
TYRONE POWER does a remarkably convincing job at the keyboard and the camera seems to linger on his dexterity at the piano (on a dummy keyboard, of course) while the magic of Carmen Cavallaro takes over on the soundtrack. He's excellent as the brash and overly eager young piano player who eventually makes bigtime as a popular pianist, marries and loses his sweetheart, KIM NOVAK, with whom he has a young son who at first resents him after Power's desertion, then reunites before Duchin's untimely death from leukemia. That's the plot, in a nutshell, but it's the sparkling music that counts.

The richly textured Technicolor photography of Manhattan and its settings evoke the time and period perfectly. I found KIM NOVAK's performance artificial and disturbingly unreal--as though she were affecting a series of poses--while Power is completely natural and appealing opposite her. Novak's performance here is a far cry from her work as Madge in PICNIC. The mood of the film becomes somber after her death and Power's decision to leave the country on tour, leaving his baby son behind. The conflict between Duchin and his son is what has to be resolved before the story ends.

The handsome production values are all enhanced by the constant use of Duchin's music, either in the background or with him at the keyboard and these qualities make it one of the most enjoyable musical biographies I've seen in a long time.

The film won four Oscar nominations and Power deserved to be included, but was not.
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Night and Day with Eddy Duchin
wes-connors9 October 2010
In the 1920s, post-collegiate pianist Tyrone Power (as Eddy Duchin) arrives at New York City's "Central Park Casino" expecting to be employed by big band leader Leo Reisman. At first, the job doesn't pan out, but Mr. Power's "sweet" piano-playing style eventually takes Manhattan (and the world) by storm. He receives ample feminine support from beautiful blonde socialite Kim Novak (as Marjorie Oelrichs), who quickly becomes "Mrs. Duchin". But, on their wedding night, Ms. Novak has a nightmarish premonition of tragedy. And, if you know anything about how these biographical films go, you're already expecting a great tragedy…

"The Eddy Duchin Story" is highly fictionalized. However, an Internet search for biographical information on the real Mr. Duchin shows not only his remarkable string of hit recordings, but also that the two tragedies occurring in this film really happened. It's like Mr. Duchin's life was tailor-made for one of these tear-jerking biography movies.

Power, who is a little too old for the early years, nevertheless does an excellent job in the role. He begins to look vaguely like Duchin, obviously worked hard on his characterization, and really makes the story work. Playing like a pro, young son Rex Thompson (as Peter Duchin) is a chip off the old block. And, when Novak takes her bow, up-and-coming Victoria Shaw (as "Chiquita" Wynn) sexily fills the screen. Producer Jerry Wald, director George Sidney, and the "Columbia" team make it a beautiful-looking and sounding picture, with the cinematography and music positively hitting the senses on both cylinders.

******** The Eddy Duchin Story (6/13/56) George Sidney ~ Tyrone Power, Rex Thompson, Kim Novak, Victoria Shaw
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The story of Eddie Duchin is a classic movie to watch
Ronald Ho30 October 2005
I saw this movie when I was 11 years old in 1959. Although, over the years, I was hooked by the songs in the movie and bought the record and tape to listen to in my adult life, I saw the the movie again last month and it brought a real new meaning of the life of Eddie Duchin. I was seeing the movie as an adult, not as a kid. Tyrone Power, who I have admired for years, play the part of Duchin real well. His portrayal as a father trying to reach to his son was touching and realistic. Kim Novack was very good in her part as his wife. The songs especially Chopin's E flat major and Manhattan were very well played by Carmen Cavallaro. Cavallaro is a favorite artiste of mine. He plays superbly and brings out the flavor of the songs. This movie is a classic and should be highly recommended.
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tedg4 February 2007
Wow, what a mix of bad and good. The good is the music and the amazing period shots of New York. The bad... well just about anything else; its all rather poorly done. The script is particularly offensive; more about that in a moment. The acting is that goofy type which is unnatural, but not quite the unnatural stage style, more of a "read to the camera" style. Novak is pretty, but moves gracelessly.

The story they have chosen to tell is a simple one: we learn to love a man through his ambition, gains, losses, sorrow and regaining of humanity after the war. This is about America after the war, not some pianist. Then sorrow strikes again and he handles it so wonderfully you applaud while crying. At least that's the goal and it probably worked for most viewers when this was new and America was trying to cope with post war loss.

Something closer to the real story would have made a killer movie. Duchin was made famous by his recording that was the first use of the F-work in that medium. His first wife did die, but he was hardly grief-stricken — a famous womanizer. He did leave his boy with Averill Harriman's wife when he went to war. But that was because he was sleeping with her, while her husband was off in England sleeping (and finally marrying) another man's wife. The son of Winston Churchill in fact, so Harriman hardly cared about his wife's affair with a New York celebrity.

Harriman was an amazing character through the period of this story. He, Dulles and Marshall shaped the world after the war in a liberal mold, essentially reforming Europe as a unit and building NATO, which for many decades was a very good thing. His presence through this movie as sort of an avuncular figure would be like having John Kennedy as a butler. The loss of the power-as-sex game and music-as-power thrust sort of waters down the whole thing.

Why do I care? Because Harriman was particularly concerned about rebuilding France, a country that had humiliated itself and had no means to rebuild. It was, as now, an agricultural economy and Harriman couldn't see Americans subsidizing French farmers for decades. So he (his staff, yes Democrats) came up with the ideas of romanticizing Paris and Rome. Make them romantic cities that tourists would visit. They surely were not before the war. Paris had had its day as a center of art but never ever of romance.

The plan was pulled off flawlessly, primarily through subsidies to Hollywood to make films that portrayed Paris romantically. Many of those films were from the same period of this film, an extreme irony. Extreme, you know.

Harriman's first wife, the one playing with Duchin, had cheated on and left her first husband as well, an extremely wealthy fellow who just happened to be the financier of Technicolor which we find our self enjoying in this very film.

Oh well, there is the music, How can you fault any film that starts with Chopin?

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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Another solid performance by Tyrone Power
vincentlynch-moonoi26 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It's only been recently, as I've seen some of the later movies by Tyrone Power, that I've come to realize just what a wonderful actor he was. It's easy to think of Power in his glory years when he often played swashbuckling roles, but in his later films before his untimely death, he was maturing very nicely on screen, often with a greater depth to his portrayals.

It's sometimes a fine line between a legitimate tear-jerker and a film that turns maudlin. Not this time. George Sidney (director) never crossed that line. But, it's not really even a legitimate tear-jerker, because the story is basically true. But it's done very well.

Tyrone Power, as Eddie Duchin, is excellent here. One of his better roles (and there were many). Kim Novak was interesting -- not quite as sultry as she became in films such as could sometimes be, and I much prefer her here than in some of her roles. Victoria Shaw as Duchin's second wife...well, the jury is still out...I don't recognize her from other films. James Whitmore is sort of cheated here...not a very impressive part, and not a lot to do with it. Rex Thompson as Duchin's son later in the film is quite good, too.

Highly recommended.
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The Lead Was Miscast
mikasparky12 March 2011
There's no way, even suspending reality to the Nth degree, that Tyrone Power is in any way, shape or form "believable" as a fresh faced graduate of the Massachusetts School of Pharmacy. The deep, unforgiving wrinkles around his eyes make him look more like the DEAN of the school! I know that Hollywood had a bad habit (still does) of casting people up to the age of forty as teens and young adults, but Tyrone doesn't look at all "young" in this role--he was just too doggone old.

And like every picture made in the era, there's no accuracy when it comes to make-up or hairstyles, either. It's a shame, too, because the costumes aren't horrible, and good hair and make-up would have helped immeasurably. Kim Novak looks like she dropped in from the Technicolor fifties! Still and all, for a schlocky, sentimental, typical-of-the-era film, it's not awful--it'll pass the time if you're in an escapist mood.
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The Real Star of This Film
hjmsia4913 June 2006
This is a moving and entertaining film with fine performances throughout. However, I strongly feel that the real star of this film is the piano artistry of Carmen Cavallero. The sound track album of this film sold over a million copies and most experts concede that Eddy Duchin was not in the same class as Cavallero, the Poet of the Piano. If you listen to the recordings of Duchin and Cavallero, the former pales in comparison. Liberace once remarked, "I copied everything from Carmen except my rings." I never tire of hearing the soundtrack versions of "I'll Take Manhattan," "You're My Everything" and "I'll Take Romance." In watching this film, the scenes are often eclipsed by the sounds of a true piano virtuoso.
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Much better than I was expecting
Liza-1929 November 2000
I started watching this movie for only two reasons: Tyrone Power and Kim Novak. I wasn't expecting much, the Hollywood bios in the 50s were never all that great, but I was shocked when I realized I'd been watching the film for an hour and was totally hooked!

Although it seems like it couldn't help being slow, (the film covers Duchin's life from the mid 30s to the early 50s), the movie is actually very well paced. The script itself is a challenge. It is either good and not original in some places, or original and not good in others. But somehow it balances out in the end.

Kim Novak looks ravishing, but the part she took is cut thin, and I think she could have found a better part in 1956.

However, Tyrone hands in one of his best performances. The beginning of the film is not the best part, he is obviously far from a college student age, and he looks it. But later on, when he's struggling to make friends with his son, he's wonderful! As the film progresses, he just looks better and better, perhaps it's because Power never was the jumpy college type, he was always suave. The second part of this movie gives him a chance to be that. It is, rather surprisingly, a worthwhile film - totally satisfying at the end.
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Warning--while technically well made, this film is a fictionalized bio-pic.
MartinHafer21 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Before I get to the film itself, I want to stand on my soapbox for a moment. I have always hated it when Hollywood played fast and loose with facts in order to create a good story. In other words, when "true stories" turn out to be mostly schmaltz and fiction, the history teacher within me goes bananas! Some good examples are NIGHT AND DAY (which bears little semblance to the life of Cole Porter) and POCAHONTAS (which is so chock full of errors I don't even know where to start!). While the films are entertaining, they teach bad history and over-glamorize people--turning them into caricatures of themselves.

Because THE EDDY DUCHIN STORY is essentially a work of fiction, I couldn't get that excited about the movie. It was sort of like the opposite of Joe Friday's old motto "The story you are about to see is true, only the names were changed to protect the innocent". Here, however, the names are the same but everything else, to a degree, has been changed. Sadly, when I searched the web for more information about the real life Duchin, I was usually referred to this film--though most sources also said that the film is a fictionalized account!

Now, as a work of fiction, the film has its pluses and minuses. First let's talk about the good. I really liked the music--even though I generally don't care all that much for music of this era. Older big band songs were set to a style that were somewhat like subdued Liberace arrangements--but without THAT much improvisation. The acting was also very good and Power's performance had a bit more depth than usual plus he did a good job of pretending to play the piano well. Also, some of the schmaltz worked well--particularly at the end. Now for what was bad. The film all too often was filled with overly sentimental hooey. The death scene with his first wife (played by Kim Novak) was silly. The woman is supposed to be dying following giving birth, but she looks just fine. I am almost surprised that they didn't have the sky open up when she died--in a scene reminiscent of a Biblical epic. It was simply WAAAYY overdone. Also, all the foreshadowing leading up to it (with the silly talk about storms) was just silly and telegraphed the action way too much. Also, while I did like the music, I also thought that several of the songs could have been cut to speed up the action a bit.

So, if you like schmaltzy tear-jerkers NOT based on reality, try watching the film...or THE SOUND OF MUSIC (which, I must admit, I still love despite its many, many liberties with the truth) or any one of a number of other very entertaining but historically silly films. As for me, I'd much rather see a film based on the real Duchin--that would have been much more satisfying in the end.
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Pianist to the rich and famous
bkoganbing5 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I wonder what a remake of The Eddy Duchin Story would be like today. Would or could they tell some of the real story, especially since Peter Duchin is still with us.

The real Eddy Duchin was a stylish and elegant pianist who broke in with the Leo Reisman Orchestra and then went out on his own with a band. Eddy came along in what we would call the sweet era of popular music, just before swing came in. His golden years would have been the early to middle Thirties.

Eddy also married Marjorie Oelrichs, a noted interior designer for the Park Avenue set and she died in 1937 within days of giving birth to their son Peter.

Tyrone Power bore more than a passing resemblance to Duchin which no doubt helped the believability of his very sincere performance. Kim Novak played Marjorie Oelrichs Duchin and she was quite good although she does die off in the first half of the film. Eddy himself died in 1951 of leukemia at the age of 42, leaving young Peter an orphan.

The man who took in young Peter was not the fictional Sherman Wadsworth as played by Sheppard Strudwick. Sherman Wadsworth was a pseudonym for the man who at the time was the Governor of New York, Averill Harriman, who at that point was a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1956.

According to a recent biography of Harriman, Harriman believed though he could never prove that the widower Duchin and his wife Marie were having an affair. This was while Harriman was over in Great Britain serving as President Roosevelt's personal representative to Winston Churchill. Also while Harriman was over there he wasn't playing the martyred husband, he was having an affair with Pamela Digby Churchill, wife of Randolph Churchill who later Harriman married after both were rid of their respective spouses.

Eddy Duchin made several film appearances in the Thirties and has a page on the Internet Movie Database. If you look at his biography section you will note that it only lists one wife for him. The character that Victoria Shaw played must have been a bit of fiction dreamed up by the author of the screenplay, Leo Katcher. Katcher at the time was a reporter for the New York Post which in those days was a most liberal paper and a supporter of Governor Harriman.

Even though Eddy was not quite the man that Ty Power is on the screen, I'm sure he would have approved of the film. What is also true is the relationship with the son he had and how time and circumstance made it all too brief. The best scenes in the film are Power with young Rex Thompson who plays a juvenile Peter. Also note a scene in the Phillipines when Duchin is in the Navy with little Warren Hsieh.

The Eddy Duchin Story is a good bit of entertainment and the piano music of Carmen Cavallaro pinchhitting for Duchin made the original cast album a big seller.
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My all-time favorite movie!
yves-debacker7 September 2005
"The Eddy Duchin Story" shows us how Eddy Duchin (Tyrone Power) arrives in New York in the early '30s, trying to joins the Leo Reisman Orchestra. With a little help of Marjorie Oelrichs (Kim Novak) he finds a job with the band, playing the piano. Marjorie keeps supporting Eddy and before too long they fall in love. They get married and Eddy takes over the Reisman orchestra. He becomes the star of Manhattan's Central Park Casino and all seems a fairy tale... until Marjorie dies of peritonitis after giving birth to their son Peter. Eddy becomes a broken man, leaves the Casino and Peter behind to join the Navy during WW2. After the war he returns to Manhattan to find out he's just a stranger to his son Peter. The boy has build up a life without his father and it takes quite a while before he starts trusting and above all forgiving the man who left him behind… In the mean time Eddy meets Chiquita, a strong and independent woman who took care of Peter before Eddy showed up. After a short period of quarreling and disagreement over Peter's education, they start to appreciate each other. And before too long they fall in love. Eddy makes up with Peter and gets his name as the pianist of the Central Park Casino back on the highest level of fame. And then suddenly the end is near… Eddy starts getting pain in the hands. Playing the piano gets difficult. The doctors tell him he is dying from leukemia. And so Eddy has to prepare his loving son for a last farewell… In the final scene of the film Eddy and Peter play the piano together for the last time. As they perform "To love again", based on Chopin's Nocturne in E-flat, Eddy suffers a new hand-attack and symbolically leaves the piano, letting Peter take over the job… "The Eddy Duchin Story" is a wonderful biopic. Tyrone Power does a great job, especially when you realize it isn't really him playing the piano. But that is something you can only know after you are being told. He does his thing SO natural. In fact, he dubs the magical piano-sound of Carmen Cavallaro, the Poet of the Piano as he was once honored… If you search for a good classic movie, if you like piano and big band, a great love story and so much more, buy yourself the DVD. And yes, it's a crying shame that Columbia-Tristar (Sony) still hasn't released "The Eddy Duchin Story" on DVD in Europe. At this time it's available in the USA (region 1 – NTSC) and in Japan (region 2 - NTSC). "The Eddy Duchin Story" is my all-time favorite masterwork. I've enjoyed it a few dozen times and it still thrills me to tears…10/10!
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Good musical sequences
laffinsal20 January 2003
While probably not the greatest biopic to come from Hollywood, this is, at the very least, a well-paced drama with some really fine musical sequences. Power is just fine in his role, and pulls off his "piano playing" believably enough. Kim Novak looks stunning, of course, and does a very nice job in her role. It is a pity that she is written-out halfway through the film, but the second half does alright without her.

If you enjoy a mild, soapy "psuedo-bio" film, then you may enjoy this one. Even better, if you enjoy the piano.
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Ty Power is a piano player
funkyfry13 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I expected to see a lot of hand double scenes, but the director Sydney does not let Tyrone Power cheat -- in cinema-scope, as Mr. Sydney puts in a Herculean effort to give these piano playing scenes some energy, it's clear Mr. Power must have spent weeks practicing his miming skills. Ty Power is great, as always, but he's too old for the role in the early sequences.

I thought the beginning of the movie was pretty engaging. I like the period, and I enjoyed his romance with Kim Novak as a rich perfect woman. But of course, the minute she starts freaking out about how the wind terrifies her, we know she's a goner. Hollywood just does not give a leading lady such a dark side in this era, unless she's going to die or go insane. The rest of the movie stretches our sympathy for Duchin/Power as he proves a neglectful father and rather embarrassing lover.

The movie is basically a big opus about a guy who used to play piano in hotel clubs. He even knew Xavier Cugat! The music is the height of cultural appropriation and corny schmaltz. The incidental characters, like Novak's aunt/uncle, appear and interact in a way that is far too functional. There's just nothing inspired here.
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It's the music, after all!
JRme-222 May 1999
The "Eddy Duchin Story" was one of the nicest movies to ever come out of Hollywood. I remember my father taking my mother to see it at least half dozen times. Reason? The music.

For a number of years we had the old soundtrack LP around and if anyone knows where I can get a copy of this on either CD or cassette, I would be eternally grateful for the information.

If I were a critic (and I have yet to have anyone adequately tell me how one goes about becoming one), I would not be so cavalier in dispatching this movie as a contrivance. If you do, you miss the point - the music.

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Eddy Duchin was a Society Musician for the Rich!
whpratt17 March 2004
The "Eddy Duchin Story" is a great film because it tells the story of a great piano player from the 20's and 30's and how he became a very high classed entertainer for the very rich in New York. Tyrone Power(Eddy Duchin),"Prince of Foxes",'49 gave a wonderful performance as Eddy and helped increase a better understanding of his music among young people in the 50's after he had passed away. Kim Novak(Marjorie Oelrichs),"The Man With The Golden Arm",'55, was attracted to Eddy and his style of playing piano at the "Tavern on the Green" in New York's Central Park. In some ways, Marjorie helped Eddy rise to fame and fortune and also was very cruel to him in her own way. Eddy Duchin, in real life, had a son who followed in his father's footsteps playing piano just like this dad and became very famous among the very rich circles of Manhattan and the United States. He was adopted by a former Governor of New York, the Harriman family. This is a great love story, and Tyrone Power & Kim Novak made this a great Classic Film!
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atrocious Tyrone Power performance
grizzledgeezer3 January 2015
I don't remember Eddy Duchin, but I remember his son, Peter. When I was a kid, their style of pop still retained some popularity.

Tyrone Power Jr might have been a pretty face, but he was rarely (if ever) accused of being a poor actor. You'd never know it from this film. When he gets angry or upset, he so overdoes it that you can't believe the director didn't ask him to tone it down.

Tyrone Power Sr gave an even worse performance in "The Big Trail". I would like to think Jr was trying to carry on the tradition, to make up for his dad not having completed a second sound film. (He died of a heart attack on the set of "The Miracle Man" in 1931.)

"The Eddy Duchin Story" is so emotionally overwrought that it's hard to keep a straight face. As they say, "There's a not a wet eye in the house."
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Was this movie really about Duchin.
crownimperial8 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed the film but kept wondering if this was the Hollywood version of Eddy`s life. I have several of his recordings and have noted that the technical aspects of his playing were not in any way similar to those in the film. Duchin is a pedestrian pianist while Cavallaro likes to display his flashy technique, lots of arpeggios and rippling cadenzas embellishments beyond the scope of Duchin. The director should have told Cavallaro that the film was about Duchin and to exercise some restraint,you would`nt use a shot gun to kill a fly, The demise of Kim Novak occured to soon, no doubt her fans will agree, and I still don`t know what she died of. Overall the acting was pretty good, maybe Victoria Shaw could have been more enthusiastic.

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It starts well and the music's great, but,,,
JohnHowardReid12 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Copyright 1956 by Columbia Pictures Corp. New York opening at the Radio City Music Hall: 21 June 1956 (ran seven weeks). U.S. release: 28 May 1956. U.K. release: 13 August 1956. Australian release: 14 February 1957. Sydney opening at the State. 11,104 feet. 123 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: The time is the late 1920s. Eddy Duchin, a recently graduated pharmacist from Boston, comes to New York to try his hand at becoming a professional musician, and with the help of Marjorie Oelrichs (Kim Novak), a pretty socialite he has met at a party, he secures a job at the celebrated Central Park Casino as pianist with the orchestra of Leo Reisman (Larry Keating). Duchin's distinctive playing wins him rapid fame and his new found stature in society circles makes it convenient for him to romance the girl who got him his first break. Their love affair culminates in marriage, but their bliss is short-lived as Marjorie dies in child birth on Christmas Eve. Heartbroken, Duchin blames his baby son, Peter, for Marjorie's death and refuses to have anything to do with him.

NOTES: Harry Stradling was nominated for an Oscar for his Color Cinematography, losing in this category to Lionel Lindon's "Around the World in 80 Days". Also receiving Academy Award nominations: Leo Katcher for his story ("The Brave One"), John Livadary for sound recording ("The King and I"), Morris Stoloff and George Duning for Scoring of a Musical Picture ("The King and I").

With a domestic rentals gross of $5.3 million, number 6 at U.S./Canadian ticket windows for 1956. The movie was not nearly so successful in Great Britain, but proved a resounding hit in Australia, coming in at fourth position for 1957, beaten only by "Around the World in 80 Days", "The King and I", and "Anastasia". Hollywood debut of Australian film actress, Jeanette Elphick.

COMMENT: Carmen Cavallaro makes a brave attempt to emulate the Duchin distinctive style with moderate success (one mustn't be too hard on the film, otherwise I would probably never have heard of Duchin, let alone play his records with such pleasure), and the acting is all very earnest throughout, but it is Kim Novak that keeps the film alive. Once she goes, it becomes a very boring, very tedious, unbelievably soap opera affair. Lush production values and very capable direction cannot make up for corny, padded dialogue and plot developments that are telegraphed miles ahead. Drastic trimming (young Peter, Shepperd Strudwick and a lot of James Whitmore should go) would help tremendously.
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