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A Song to Remember (1945)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Music | 18 January 1945 (USA)
Biography of Frederic Chopin.

Director:

Charles Vidor

Writers:

Sidney Buchman, Ernst Marischka (story)
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Paul Muni ... Prof. Joseph Elsner
Merle Oberon ... George Sand
Cornel Wilde ... Frédéric Chopin
Nina Foch ... Constantia
George Coulouris ... Louis Pleyel
Howard Freeman ... Kalkbrenner
Stephen Bekassy Stephen Bekassy ... Franz Liszt
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Storyline

Prof. Joseph Elsner guides his protégé Frydryk Chopin through his formative years to early adulthood in Poland. At a recital in a duke's home Chopin insults the new Russian-installed governor, and must flee the country. The professor takes him to Paris, where he eventually comes under the wing and influence of novelist George Sand and rises to prominence in the music world, to the exclusion of his old friends and patriotic feelings towards Poland. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A New Kind of Motion Picture! A New Miracle of TECHNICOLOR! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 January 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chopin See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To play Chopin's piano solos,Columbia Pictures first attempted to engage Artur Rubinstein, then Vladimir Horowitz. Rubinstein was offended when he was greeted by Columbia president Harry Cohn with a boisterous "Hiya, Ruby!" Horowitz got along better with Cohn, but did not wish to perform the severely cut versions of the Chopin pieces the film required. See more »

Goofs

Almost all the pianos in the movie are artcase pianos made after the death of Chopin, the sound we hear is also of modern pianos. See more »

Quotes

Franz Liszt: I should like to shake your hand, but i don't want to stop
Frédéric Chopin: If I play the melody and you play the bass, we should each have a free hand
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Fisher King (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

The piano music of Frédéric Chopin is played by José Iturbi
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
You just have to forget it's a bio
27 July 2005 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"A Song to Remember" is supposed to be the life of Chopin but in fact, very little in it is historically accurate. It's still a beautiful, emotional, and sumptuous movie, filled with the heavenly music of Chopin played by Jose Iturbi.

"A Song to Remember" helped to popularize Chopin's romantic, passionate music and launched Cornel Wilde's star into the heavens. Though he's never done much for me personally, he cuts a dashing figure as Chopin. The Chopin of Columbia Pictures is a strong patriot of Poland who, under the influence of the controlling George Sand, becomes a self-involved artist. Sand believed (here anyway) that the artist needed to serve himself alone and not others. Thus, she cut him off from his teacher and friend, Professor Elsnore, who wants Chopin to finish his magnificent Polonaise, a freedom cry for his beloved Poland, which is being suppressed by the Russians. Under Sand's control, Chopin turns out little ditties instead.

There really was a Professor Elsnore, but he did not teach Chopin piano, rather, music theory and composition. The role is played effectively by Paul Muni, who works to protect the change in Chopin's personality and apathy toward politics to his family and friends. Merle Oberon is stunning as a cold George Sand. Nina Foch plays Chopin's Polish girlfriend Constantia (and in reality, Constantia did exist).

Well, what is true and what isn't? Chopin was a child prodigy, he did meet George Sand at a party which was also attended by Franz Liszt, the bad weather in Mallorca nearly killed him, and in fact, after that time, he was never fully healthy again. He broke with George Sand two years before he died. She is the one who tried to get back together. His burial isn't covered in the film, but Chopin is buried in Paris. At his request, his heart was removed and buried in Poland.

One of the scenes in "A Song to Remember" has a place in history, though not perhaps in Chopin's, but that of another famous pianist. During a party, it is announced that Franz Liszt will play. The room is plunged into darkness. As the audience listens, George Sand walks over to the piano and places a candleabra on top of it to reveal that it is not Liszt at all, but Chopin. It is said that because of that scene, Liberace never played piano without his own famous candelabra.


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