A Song to Remember (1945)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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.
Classics , Drama , Musical & Performing Arts
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In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Entertainment

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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
Paul Zaremba
as Waiter
Earl Easton
as Albert
Maurice R. Tauzin
as Chopin, age 10
Gregory Gaye
as Young Russian
Walter Bonn
as Major Domo
Henry Sharp
as Russian Count
Zoya Karabanova
as Countess
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
Cosmo Sardo
as Lackey
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)

The music is fine, but the story is not.

Full Review… | July 12, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The melodrama is pretty forced, but the music is superb.

June 8, 2006
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

Indefensible as either art or history, Charles Vidor's Chopin biopic is the absolute textbook definition of kitsch.

Full Review… | September 1, 2005
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Quote not available.

February 26, 2013

Audience Reviews for A Song to Remember


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 Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

In the movie A song to Remember we have a movie focusing on the composer Frederic Chopin and his struggles to balance his loves between music, George Sand, his teacher and his country. The movie features several moments where the historical accuracy is somewhat questionable, but aside from that music is great and the movie won't disappoint fans of the composer.

Raji Kosloske
Raji Kosloske

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
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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