Torch Song - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Torch Song Reviews

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½ February 11, 2017
Joan Crawford (voice-dubbed by India Adams) chews up the scenery in MGM's musical drama; Michael Wilding plays a blind pianist and director Charles Walters has a cameo as Crawford's berated dance partner. The "Two-Faced Woman" number has been recognized as the nadir of campy, offensive cinema.
½ October 22, 2016
Corny, stereotypical Joan Crawford vehicle has her in what's kind of a remake of "All About Eve" where Joan plays all of the characters. She plays an aging and rathe mean Broadway musical star who is reeled back in by a blind piano player who isn't intimidated by her (or her scary eyebrows). This film also features one hilariously awful scene where Joan actually dons blackface for one musical number.
January 18, 2016
Torch Song is an excellent film. It is about Jenny Stewart who is a tough Broadway musical star and doesn't take criticism from anyone. Joan Crawford and Michael Wilding give amazing performances. The script is well written. Charles Walters did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama and music.
November 7, 2013
I like any movie of Joan Crawford because even if it happens it not be the best, it still has her best in it. This is what she always gave to the audience, her very best! This movie has received very tough criticism for many reasons. The script was surely not in favor of her, as in many dialogues, she had to deal with in real life people thought about her.There is a particular scene when she says - The first time I ever sang, I got in love with the audience. I have been in love with the audience ever since. I`m going to give them the best that`s in me, no matter who, what, or when tries to stop me. I think that was what she did her entire life to be seen and loved. I will never criticize her because she was not perfect. Nobody is! What she gave to us, her audience, is priceless! She had to sweat, fight, work the hardest way to become Joan Crawford. She built an amazing career, the longest nobody ever was able to have. I admire her a great deal! This movie was cynical to her, but still she was great, for me, she was great, no matter role.
November 6, 2013
A terrific post-MGM contract era film for Joan Crawford. Her old studio, MGM, went all out for this one, as far as costumes, set design and supporting cast members. Harry Morgan, Majorie Rambeau, Maidie Norman helped to pull this off. I'd give it 5 stars, except for the distasteful black-face play.
November 2, 2013
high camp and joan crawford in technicolor-need i say more
May 6, 2012
Odd. Camp. Joan. You can't really add more than that. Worth seeing for the most bizarre blackface you'll ever see, alone.
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
March 5, 2012
After earning her third (and last) Oscar nomination for "Sudden Fear" (1952), Joan Crawford tried her hand at something radical: her first Technicolor film and her first musical in about 20 years. The results are decidedly mixed and at times downright weird.

In middle age, Crawford's face grew more stark, with eyebrows that seemed to have a life of their own. In black and white photography with moody lighting, this can come across statuesque and haunting. In Technicolor with overly bright lighting (one of the numerous disasters in "Torch Song" is the lighting), it looks garish and even frightening. It's this fierce Crawford look that launched a million drag performances and will launch a million more. It's with "Torch Song" that Crawford becomes campy. And she doesn't appear to know it.

Her character, a lonely, middle-aged, tough-as-nails Broadway star, seems to be a parody of Crawford, but the only one who is not in on the joke is Crawford herself.

Through the whole first two-thirds of the film, Crawford's portrayal of this man-eater made of granite is so over the top that it produces no emotional effect. It just seems cold and phony. And uninteresting. Even a little depressing.

But in the final scenes something remarkable happens. The character starts to admit her weaknesses and her love for her new pianist, who -- get this -- is blind. Remarkably, this bizarre movie finds its footing at the tail end, and these two characters reveal to each other how much they've been hiding from the world. He turns out to be as hidden behind a shell as she is, afraid to be rejected by women because he's blind.

But this touching finale can't quite save this weird movie from itself. I keep remembering the unbelievable number with Crawford performing in blackface. Yes, blackface.
August 13, 2011
Beautifully shot. Great performances. Camp camp camp.
½ August 8, 2011
Like Flixster says Campy. A bit odd for Joan Crawford, Does she get too sentimental?
July 16, 2011
Viva La Diva!!!! But I just didn't know at 1st if I wanted the Slap the Nasty out of her or Hug The Nasty out of Her.
Who knew Joan Craford could sing & Dance? And Well, actually.Check out the Runners(not dancers) thighs on her! Abundance of talent, no wonder she harbored such a high opinion of herself.Her Diva personality is put to great use here, as she doesn't just play superbly to Character, it IS her character.The Diva of Drama, may be misunderstood & lonely in both real life & in this role, & it shows on her face as stern & constipated.While a pretty woman, she looks mean from the inside out, esp. here, more than any other role I've seen her in.Something tells me its not just makeup or acting.I just want to Hug her till she melts the Ice.
She meets her match in a Blind Pianist who is neither afraid of her, nor affected by her.Meeting someone who can put he in her place is just what the Doctor ordered & kinder than a Personality Enema.Gotta Love an Ice melting movie like this one
February 16, 2011
First let's address the elephant in the room: the bizarre, unnecessary, and pedestrianly choreographed blackface number. Joan looks less like a black person and more like an alien ambassador from the planet Glittertron 5. I think it's safe to assume she does not come in peace.
As for the rest of the movie, it's surprisingly unventful and anticlimactic fare. The technicolor and Joan's palpable swagger made me yearn for Johnny Guitar, which is sadly absent from Netflix. Also, I'm not sure what the moral of the story is supposed to be--even blind guys are superficial? even Broadway stars get the blues? Who's to say? Anyway, this film did not deliver its promised punch of scenery chewing and garish colors. I expected high camp and received only medium camp.
February 13, 2011
Joan does blackface......need i say more!
November 22, 2010
Torch Song is not really a musical... it certainly isn't your Happy Musical, because - Well, by the 50s... Joan Crawford's transformation doesn't allow us to believe she can be soft. In it, Crawford plays Jenny Stewart a Broadway -hint: Hollywood- diva who takes nothing from no one. She's tough, she's loud... she's a piece of work, but she's good at what she does and she knows it.

Then comes the blind pianist, and we know he's set his eyes - so to speak - on her.

The musical aspect is kind of a joke, and it goes to hilariously offensive levels with a whole number for Two-Faced Woman with Crawford and the whole cast in blackface, so out of place that it makes for memorable scenes. However, there's also a sad introspective view in Stewart as a Crawford mirror. If you've read about her whole life, and are a fan - you can't miss it.

I'll take my Crawford in Black & White, thank you.
½ January 30, 2010
This is SUCH an odd little gem...a B movie musical that she made as she was emerging into the later years of her acting career. She is dubbed when she sings which is interesting to say the least to watch, and the "living technicolor" is well taken advantage of with the brightest color costumes you can imagine..additionally there is a whole black face routine (Two Faced Woman) that makes no sense at all...however all of this is held together and still enjoyab le because of Joan Crawford magnetic performance. She plays an aging starlett (surprise) that is hard to work with (to say the least) and her blind piano player becomes her conscience and then love interest. If you are a fan of Crawford's you will want to see this.
½ October 20, 2009
Not exactly Joan's greatest moment
½ June 16, 2009
Delightful, although a bit campy, melodrama, with Joan Crawford giving an over the top performance. Of course, she also keeps the film interesting. Excellent production, especially the costumes and art direction. Very entertaining.
½ June 16, 2009
Delightful, although a bit campy, melodrama, with Joan Crawford giving an over the top performance. Of course, she also keeps the film interesting. Excellent production, especially the costumes and art direction. Very entertaining.
½ March 23, 2009
Torch Song (1953) -- [3.5] -- Crawford's character is very unlikeable and annoying. The movie is slow, and the singing is dubbed. Not much going for this flick, I'm afraid.
December 19, 2008
I love old movie musicals but this one just stunk. Over the top acting, lip synching and the black face number was in poor taste even in 1953.
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