Interrupted Melody

Interrupted Melody is a 1955 biographical musical film, filmed in CinemaScope and Eastman Color, directed by Curtis Bernhardt and starring Glenn Ford, Eleanor Parker, Roger Moore, and Cecil Kellaway. The film was produced for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by Jack Cummings from a screenplay by Australian soprano Marjorie Lawrence, Sonya Levien, and William Ludwig. It tells the story of Lawrence's rise to fame as an opera singer and her subsequent triumph over polio, with her husband's help. The operatic sequences were staged by Vladimir Rosing, and Eileen Farrell provided the singing voice for Parker.

Interrupted Melody
Interrupted Melody.jpg
Original French poster
Directed byCurtis Bernhardt
Written byMarjorie Lawrence (autobiography)
Screenplay bySonya Levien
William Ludwig
Based onInterrupted Melody 1949 autobiography[1]
Produced byJack Cummings
StarringEleanor Parker
Glenn Ford
Roger Moore
Cecil Kellaway
CinematographyJoseph Ruttenberg,
Paul Vogel
Edited byJohn D. Dunning
Music byAlexander Courage
Adolph Deutsch
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • March 25, 1955 (1955-03-25) (United States)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$2,367,000[2]
Box office$4,028,000[2][3]

PlotEdit

The story traces Marjorie's (Eleanor Parker) long, hard road to the top, her success on two continents, and her turbulent marriage to American doctor Thomas King (Glenn Ford). While touring South America in 1941, Lawrence is stricken with polio, which not only abruptly stops her career but briefly robs her of the will to live. With her husband's help, she makes a triumphant return to opera and the concert stage, beginning by singing for hospitalized soldiers and troops overseas. She returns to the Metropolitan Opera, appearing in a full production of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

In 1947 it was reported that Marjorie Lawrence was writing her memoirs, titled Interrupted Melody, and that she wanted Greer Garson to play her in a film.[4] The book was published in 1950. The Chicago Tribune called it "engrossing".[5]

In June 1951, MGM, which had just had a huge success with The Great Caruso, another biopic of an opera star, announced that it had bought the screen rights to the book. Jack Cummings was going to produce, and Kathryn Grayson was a possible star.[6] Other possible stars were Greer Garson and Deborah Kerr, who would use Lawrence's voice.[7] Lawrence flew to Hollywood in July to have discussions with Cummings and Sonya Levien, who was to do the script.[8] In December, MGM announced Lana Turner would play the lead with filming to begin in February.[9] However filming did not proceed. In July 1952, MGM said Garson would be playing the lead and William Ludwig was working on the script.[10] By February 1953 the studio had postponed production again.[11] In December 1953, the film was put back on MGM's schedule with Garson still attached.[12]

On April 7, 1954, The New York Times announced that Eleanor Parker would play the part because all the other candidates, with the exception of Lana Turner, had left MGM. The article reported that Lawrence had recorded the songs for the film.[13] Filming started in September 1954. According to Parker, the filmmakers could not use Marjorie Lawrence's voice, because she had lost her upper register. Parker could read music and had a firm soprano voice with perfect pitch. She prepared for the singing aspect of her role by listening to the numbers for weeks, and she sang them during the filming in full voice instead of lip-synching.[14] The singing was dubbed by Eileen Farrell, who appears on screen early in the film, as a student struggling to hit a high note in a scene with the singing teacher Mme. Gilly (Ann Codee) .[15]

Glenn Ford would only appear in the film if he got top billing. Parker says: "I wanted to do what was right for the picture, so I said: 'Let him have the top billing.' Glenn was a kind of a difficult man, but he was right for the picture and a very fine actor."[15]

A key supporting role was given to Roger Moore, who had just made The Last Time I Saw Paris for MGM and had been put under contract to the studio.[16]

Filming had finished by November 1954.[17] The film was previewed in January 1955.[18]

In February 1955, The New York Times published a photo spread showing scenes from the film.[19]

ReceptionEdit

According to MGM records, the film made $1,801,000 in the US and Canada, and $2,227,000 overseas, resulting in a profit of $101,000.[2]

New York Times critic Bosley Crowther showered the film with praise.[20]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Award Category Nominee(s) Result
Academy Awards[21] Best Actress Eleanor Parker Nominated
Best Story and Screenplay William Ludwig and Sonya Levien Won
Best Costume Design – Color Helen Rose Nominated
Venice International Film Festival Golden Lion Curtis Bernhardt Nominated

Musical tracksEdit

Walter Ducloux conducted the MGM Studio Symphony Orchestra. MGM published a selection of eleven numbers on an original motion picture soundtrack album.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Griffin, Helga M. Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  3. ^ Domestic take see also "The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955", Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956.
  4. ^ Cassidy, Claudia (Dec 17, 1947). "ON THE AISLE: Lawrence Calls Her Story 'Interrupted Melody' And Garson Wants To Do It On The Screen". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 39.
  5. ^ Barry, Edward (Jan 29, 1950). "Diva's Story of Fight for Fame and Life". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. I11.
  6. ^ THOMAS F. BRADY (6 June 1951). "FILM GUILD MOVES AGAINST FOX CUTS: Screen Writers Are Urged Not to Comply With Proposal for Salary Reductions". New York Times. p. 37.
  7. ^ Schallert, Edwin (June 19, 1951). "Drama: Garson Likely to Act Lawrence Role; Bettger, Lockhart Villainous". Los Angeles Times. p. B7.
  8. ^ "Barrie Play at Paramount". New York Times. 20 July 1951. p. 13.
  9. ^ THOMAS M. PRYOR (Dec 24, 1951). "LANA TURNER GETS OPERA SINGER ROLE: Star Will Portray Marjorie Lawrence, Victor Over Polio, in 'Interrupted Melody' Bob Hope Film to Start Of Local Origin". New York Times. p. 9.
  10. ^ Schallert, Edwin (July 11, 1952). "Drama: Garson in 'Interrupted Melody;' Bacon-Bergman and Bjork Deals on Fire". Los Angeles Times. p. B9.
  11. ^ THOMAS M. PRYOR (Feb 16, 1953). "KNOPF TO PRODUCE STORY BY ERSKINE: Unpublished 'Diane de Poitiers' Will Be Filmed Independently -- Garson Eyed for Lead". New York Times. p. 16.
  12. ^ Schallert, Edwin (Dec 26, 1953). "Drama: Ursula Thiess New Star of 'Americano;' Disney Sets Verne Launching". Los Angeles Times. p. A7.
  13. ^ "METRO FILLS LEAD IN FILM OF SINGER; Eleanor Parker Will Portray Marjorie Lawrence in 'Interrupted Melody'". timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  14. ^ "Eleanor Parker: More Than Just the Sound of Music Baroness" by Richard Corliss, Time, December 20, 2013
  15. ^ a b "Eleanor Parker: Incognito, but Invincible" (PDF). Noir City Sentinel. Summer 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-10-19.
  16. ^ Schallert, Edwin (June 19, 1954). "La Jolla Film Festival Plans Expand; Brynner Cited as 'Matador' Star". Los Angeles Times. p. 13.
  17. ^ Hopper, Hedda (Nov 16, 1954). "Eleanor Parker Will Be Wed". Los Angeles Times. p. A2.
  18. ^ Scott, John L. (Feb 13, 1955). "Eleanor Parker Plays Convincing Diva Role: Lawrence Life Story Applauded". Los Angeles Times. p. D3.
  19. ^ "Interrupted Melody'". timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  20. ^ Crowther, Bosley (1955-05-06). "Screen: The Defeat of Polio as Personal Drama; ' Interrupted Melody' Tells Singer's Story". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  21. ^ "The 28th Academy Awards (1956) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-21.

External linksEdit