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Humoresque (1946)

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A classical musician from the slums is sidetracked by his love for a wealthy, neurotic socialite.

Director:

Jean Negulesco

Writers:

Clifford Odets (screenplay), Zachary Gold (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Crawford ... Helen Wright
John Garfield ... Paul Boray
Oscar Levant ... Sid Jeffers
J. Carrol Naish ... Rudy Boray
Joan Chandler ... Gina
Tom D'Andrea ... Phil Boray
Peggy Knudsen ... Florence Boray
Ruth Nelson ... Esther Boray
Craig Stevens ... Monte Loeffler
Paul Cavanagh ... Victor Wright
Richard Gaines ... Frederick Bauer
John Abbott ... Rozner
Robert Blake ... Paul Boray as a Child (as Bobby Blake)
Tommy Cook ... Phil Boray as a Child
Don McGuire ... Eddie
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Storyline

Paul Boray comes from a working class background. He has been interested in the violin since he was a child, which his father disliked since he felt it a waste of money, but which his mother supported. Into his adult life, Paul wants to become a concert violinist, and although he shows talent, he does not have the right connections to make it into the concert performance world, much like his longtime friend, virtuoso pianist Sid Jeffers, and cellist Gina, both who, like Paul, train with the National Institute Orchestra. Gina and Paul have a connection with each other, Gina who confesses her love for him. While performing at a party with Sid, Paul meets Helen and Victor Wright, their hosts. Victor is a perceptive but self-admittedly weak man, while his wife Helen is strong minded but insecure which manifests itself as neurosis. She constantly tries to forget about her unhappy life by excessive alcohol consumption. Helen becomes Paul's benefactress, which ultimately results in a ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE NEW WARNERS ACHIEVEMENT - One Of The Greatest Of Them All! (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 January 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

De amor también se muere See more »

Filming Locations:

Malibu, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,164,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,281,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,118,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

John Garfield's violin "performances" are actually played by two professional violinists standing on either side of him, one to bow and one to finger. The actual music was performed by Isaac Stern. In Stern's autobiography, "My First 79 Years" (New York: Knopf, 1999; page 51), when the movie shows closeups of the hands alone playing the violin (without Garfield in the frame), those are Stern's hands. Somewhere, there must be a bootleg medium shot of the 3 actors combining body parts to give the impression that Garfield is actually playing. It would be most interesting to see. See more »

Goofs

At about 1:20, during Garfield's supposed playing of Symphony Espagnole, the head of the violinist whose hand we see doing the bowing, standing on Garfield's right, is partially visible on the extreme left side of the screen. This may be the same (uncredited) player we also see doubling for Garfield in some of the extreme long-shots. See more »

Quotes

Sid Jeffers: It isn't what you are, it's what you don't become that hurts. Idealism is a luxury for the very young.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are presented on the turning pages of the sheet music for the composition "Humoresque". See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood: The Great Stars (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 22
(uncredited)
Written by Henryk Wieniawski
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Splendid performances and music
13 August 2006 | by caa821See all my reviews

It's fun sometimes to watch a movie, and mentally juxtapose it in your mind with another you've seen. In "Humoresque," for example, watch the part where Paul (John Garfield) is delivering his major violin performance, while his wealthy, possessive patron, Helen (Joan Crawford), sits in her expensive box (his mother and "girlfriend" are in the cheaper seats) in a sensuous, almost orgasmic state as she watches him. This scene is depicted as graphically as the constrictions imposed on films in the mid-40's would allow - narrow boundaries compared with even daytime television today. Now visualize Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone from "Basic Instinct." Instead of being a detective and author/murder suspect, respectively, Michael is on-stage like Paul, playing his heart out, and Sharon is the wealthy patron in the audience. Now imagine what Sharon might do, and the camera show, in "her" sensuous reaction to his performance: not a bad vision, eh?

This film IS an outstanding example of the "noir" qualities which were a hallmark of the 30's to the early 50's - from the earlier stages of talking pictures, through the depression and post-WW II years. Joan Crawford was one of the two best (along with Bette Davis) at portraying this type of cold, possessive, and thoroughly selfish, powerful female presence. From later revelations about her real life, it was probably due less to her acting prowess than one imagined at that time. And Garfield played the tough, yet easily-manipulated, handsome male "pawn" to perfection - as the fore-mentioned Michael Douglas has done in the present.

Watch this movie for the outstanding performances of two icons of the film's era. It also represents, in my opinion, one of the three best films for the lead characters' music, presented within 10 years after WW II - each with characters meeting unhappy ends. There is, of course, the great Isaac Stern's music here. Ten years later, another matinée idol, Tyrone Power, starred as the title character in "The Eddy Duchin Story," with the gorgeous Kim Novak, and Carmen Cavallero's talented piano offerings. In about the mid-point between these two movies, in 1950, Kirk Douglas was Rick Martin in "Young Man With a Horn," based largely of the meteoric, talented career of the great trumpet player, Bix Biederbecke, whose life ended at age 28 - but who was so talented he is well-remembered nearly 75 years later; Harry James' playing in this film is comparable to Stern's and Cavallero's in the other two, and Lauren Bacall and Doris Day are there as Kirk's love interests, the naughty girl and good girl, respectively. Watch these three movies in the order made; you'll be exposed to great music, and three all-time great performers providing music via their respective instruments - as well as some of the great stars in cinema history. And the musical finale from the Duchin movie will bring a tear to virtually anyone's eyes.


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