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Edward G. Robinson,
Maria Grazia Buccella
On September 6, 1946 (one day before the stage musical ended its Broadway run), Universal announced its purchase of the screen rights for $200,000 plus 25 percent of the film's profits. The studio planned for the movie adaptation to be produced in Technicolor by Sam Spiegel (then known as S.P. Eagle) and to star Deanna Durbin, with shooting to start in January 1948. However, because of a projected high budget and a related tax problem which was holding back Hollywood film exports to Britain, Mr. Eagle revealed on August 21, 1947 that the picture was being postponed indefinitely. See more »
I saw this as a little kid taking piano lessons and loving Grieg's music. (That was in San Francisco - maybe I saw it at the same theater, the Paramount, as one of our earlier commenters?) All of 10 years old, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I suppose I wasn't a great judge of acting at that point, or of cinema in general (it was probably the third or fourth theatrical film I'd seen in my life at that point). So it was basically the music, voices, and scenery I was chewing on. I hadn't even heard the name "Carol Brady" then.
Haven't seen the film since, but I just wonder ... terrible compared to what? The soundtrack (a few cuts I have on a Grieg compilation) is miles better than the nursery-rhymes in Sound of Music, and for the most part the transliterated lyrics aren't a travesty. Florence Henderson doesn't make me gag any more than Julie Andrews or any other too-clean-and-scrubbed actor in the business. And what's wrong with casting an actual Norwegian as Grieg instead of ... I dunno, from the same era ... George Peppard? The movie even had a nice animated sequence for the kids.
Song of Norway was unlucky enough to arrive at the absolute tail end of the road-show-spectacular era of movie musicals, and I'm sure a lot of critics just had indigestion by that point, following Paint Your Wagon (with a singing, dancing Clint Eastwood!), Camelot (a singing, non-dancing Richard Harris!), The Happiest Millionaire (a singing, dancing Fred MacMurray!), and Darling Lili (Dame Julie's nadir). So what's so much worse about Song of Norway?
Got something against Scandinavian composers?!
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