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Humoresque (1946)

Approved | | Drama, Music, Romance | 25 January 1947 (USA)
Trailer
2:39 | Trailer
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:

"MILDRED PIERCE" DOES IT AGAIN! LAST YEAR'S ACADEMY AWARD STARS IN THIS YEAR'S ENTERTAINMENT TRIUMPH! (original poster- all caps) 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)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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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

In the brief horseriding scene, neither of the two actors was ever actually in the saddle: they were clearly filmed against a back-projection screen, or their characters were distant, unidentifiable figures, and Crawford's fall from her horse was done by a stunt double (as would have been the case for the initial "distance" shots of the two riders), which is clearly visible in a HD freeze frame. A studio would never have risked injuring one of its stars when there would have been no need for it. Joan Crawford's saying that she "had to repeat the fall from her horse" had obviously been made up for publicity reasons. See more »

Goofs

Don McGuire plays Teddy, the proprietor of Teddy's Bar, although his character is listed in the closing credits as Eddie. See more »

Quotes

Helen Wright: Leave me alone. Go on back to your music. I'm tired of playing second fiddle to the ghost of Beethoven.
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 Okay for Sound (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
(uncredited)
Written by Edvard Grieg
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Crawford takes Garfield under her wing
23 January 2007 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Humoresque" is a 1946 film based on a novel by Fanny Hurst, and is actually a remake of a film made in 1920. This "Humoresque" boasts a great cast, beautiful music, melodrama, and gorgeous violin playing by Isaac Stern.

John Garfield stars as struggling violinist Paul Boray who finally gets his big break with the help of a socialite, Helen Wright (Crawford), when his pianist friend (Oscar Levant) brings him to a party at her home. Helen is a beautiful married lush who is nearsighted, so when Paul starts to play the violin, she asks for her glasses. She has a lot of attractive male hangers-on, one of which is Monte Loeffler (a mustached Craig Stevens). It takes a while, but Helen and Paul at last declare their love and give into their lust. Paul's mother (Ruth Nelson) takes a dim view of the situation, fearing it will hurt her son's career as Helen is a demanding woman and won't take a back seat to his music. In one scene, which to anyone in theater or music is hilarious, after she practically has an orgasm as she watches him play during a rehearsal, Helen sends Paul a note saying that she must see him immediately. Since he's going over music with the conductor and rehearsing with a full orchestra, he doesn't leap off the stage and into the audience in order to rush to Helen's side. She's devastated and gets drunk. I ask you, if she doesn't understand why he didn't stop rehearsal, what chance have they got? This is a wonderful film, reminiscent of the family all living together in "Golden Boy" (not to mention the violin aspect) and the wealthy patron angle in "Serenade," the Mario Lanza film that was based on a novel by James Cain. Helen Wright is one of Joan Crawford's best performances, too.

The film is not without some problems, but you can't fault the incredible music played by Isaac Stern, including the title piece by Dvorak, and music of Sarasate, Lalo and Bizet's Carmen as magnificently adapted by Franz Waxman. The love theme from "Tristan und Isolde" was a post-war favorite in movies evidently, showing up in a few films - it is used here to good, if heavily melodramatic advantage.

My big problem is the end of the movie. The last two scenes between Paul and Sid (Levant) seem completely unnecessary. To have put THE END in what to me was the natural place would have been much more dramatic and compelling. It wasn't done, I think, because the story is actually told in flashback - at the beginning of the film, we see a CANCELLED sign over a poster announcing a performance of Paul's, and the story unfolds. There wasn't any reason really for it to start in flashback either.

As for Crawford's big finale, it is very well done and Crawford performs the actions beautifully, but once you've seen Catherine O'Hara do the same scene on Second City, there's just no way to watch it with a straight face, I'm afraid. Even if you haven't, it is pretty borderline over the top - what saves it is Helen's anguish.

Paul Boray is a perfect role for the talents of John Garfield, a wonderful actor, though for my money he had a limited range. The sexual tension between Garfield and Crawford is tremendous, and it's a credit to both actors how their scenes clicked. There are other wonderful performances as well, particularly from Paul's parents, played by Ruth Nelson and J. Carroll Naish. Levant is given a lot of wisecracks, as is Tom D'Andrea as Paul's brother. Joan Chandler is the long-suffering girlfriend who's been brushed aside for Helen, and she's very good.

The script is solid with some great dialogue and the direction by Jean Negulesco is very crisp. Highly recommended - just don't get a DVD of Second City where they parodied this movie before you've actually seen it.


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