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


Jean Negulesco


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





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


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


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


Drama | Music | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


In the cocktail party scene, a drunken society girl repeatedly tells John Garfield, "You look just like a prize fighter." Garfield would play a prize fighter in his next film, Body and Soul (1947). See more »


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 »


Sid Jeffers: Hey, you just spoiled the beginning of an odious relationship.
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Crazy Credits

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


Featured in The John Garfield Story (2003) See more »


Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major
Written by César Franck
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User Reviews

The ultimate diva in love with a violinst...
13 May 2001 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

Joan Crawford was midway through filming 'Humoresque' when she won her Oscar for 'Mildred Pierce'. Along with 'Possessed', I think these three are her finest performances--and the films themselves aren't bad either!

Here she is a sophisticated patron of the arts who falls hard for John Garfield, as a high-strung violinist. Her neurotic, possessive nature is hellbent on self-destruction--leading to the inevitable ending which, though a bit overly dramatic, is a stunning conclusion to an interesting romantic drama. Garfield and Crawford make a good team--though personally I liked his teaming with Lana Turner better in 'The Postman Always Rings Twice'.

Oscar Levant supplies some cynical comedy relief with dry humor. Franz Waxman's score permits use of other classical composers--Bizet, Rossini and Wagner--giving distinction to a well crafted, if overlong melodrama that showcases the star's glamourous image. Crawford never looked better with Bette Davis' favorite photographer, Ernie Haller, at the camera. Makes you wonder why they couldn't find stories like this for Crawford while she was at MGM.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

25 January 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Humoresque See more »

Filming Locations:

Malibu, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$2,164,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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