A Song to Remember

1945

A Song to Remember

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User Ratings: 394
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Movie Info

One of the most successful filmed biographies of the 1940s, A Song to Remember alleges to be the true story of Polish composer Frederick Chopin. Actually, it has about as much relation to truth as a Heckle and Jeckle cartoon, but with such gorgeous creatures as Cornel Wilde and Merle Oberon in the leads, who cared? Though Wilde, as Chopin, is the nominal lead, top billing goes to Paul Muni, hamming his way through the role of Chopin's mentor Professor Joseph Elsner. Reportedly, Muni developed his characterization long before shooting started, refusing to allow the performances of the other actors to alter his interpretation in the slightest. This may explain why Muni seems to be acting in a vacuum, frequently completely out of rhythm with the film and its characters. Otherwise, Cornel Wilde does a nice job as the tempestuous Chopin, whose patriotic fervency frequently takes priority over his music. Merle Oberon plays novelist George Sand, who despite her preference for male clothing proves to be "all woman" during her torrid, decade-long affair with Chopin. The film's money scene--the one that everyone talked about, keeping the picture "alive" long after its original release--occurs towards the end, when the tubercular Chopin begins hemorrhaging as he performs his Polonaise for the first time (Jose Iturbi is heard on the soundtrack, "doubling" for Wilde's ivory-tickling). Sumptuously photographed in Technicolor by Tony Gaudio and Allen M. Davey, A Song to Remember was the usually penurious Columbia Pictures' top production of 1945. Fifteen years later, the studio hoped to make lightning strike twice with its Franz Liszt biopic Song Without End, but the magic just wasn't there.

Cast

Cornel Wilde
as Frederic Chopin
Paul Muni
as Józef Elsner
Merle Oberon
as George Sand
Nina Foch
as Constantia
Stephen Bekassy
as Franz Liszt
George Coulouris
as Louis Pleyel
Sig Arno
as Henri Dupont
Howard Freeman
as Kalbrenner
George Macready
as Alfred DeMusset
Claire Du Brey
as Mme. Mercier
Frank Puglia
as M. Jollet
Fern Emmett
as Mme. Lambert
Sybil Merritt
as Isabelle Chopin
Ivan Triesault
as M. Chopin
Fay Helm
as Mme. Chopin
Dawn Bender
as Isabelle Chopin
Roxy Roth
as Paganini
Alfred Paix
as Headwaiter
Maurice R. Tauzin
as Chopin, age 10
Gregory Gaye
as Young Russian
Walter Bonn
as Major Domo
Henry Sharp
as Russian Count
Michael Visaroff
as Russian Governor
John George
as Servant
Ian Wolfe
as Pleyel's Clerk
Lucy von Boden
as Window Washer
Norma Drury
as Duchess of Orleans
Al Luttringer
as De La Croux
Eugene Borden
as Duc of Orleans
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Critic Reviews for A Song to Remember

All Critics (4) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for A Song to Remember

  • Mar 31, 2014
    Muni made an art out of trying to play everyone. In some cases he pulls it off. In this case he does a disservice to Chopin's mentor and ultimately Chopin himself with a tepid performance.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    A nice biography movie about Chopin. I enjoyed it, the actors are good and the story is interesting (weather or not it's accurate, I don't know).
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Apr 02, 2009
    Cornel Wilde turns in a surprisingly good performance with Merle Oberon especially attractive. Glorious production rich in color and design. Paul Muni's performance is endearing. A great deal to enjoy.
    hawk l Super Reviewer

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