Interrupted Melody is a 1955 biographical musical film in CinemaScope and Technicolor, which tells the story of Australian opera singer Marjorie Lawrence's struggle with polio. The film was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Curtis Bernhardt, and produced by Jack Cummings from a screenplay by Marjorie Lawrence, Sonya Levien, and William Ludwig.
Original French poster
|Directed by||Curtis Bernhardt|
|Produced by||Jack Cummings|
|Written by||Marjorie Lawrence (autobiography)|
|Screenplay by||Sonya Levien|
|Based on||Interrupted Melody 1949 autobiography|
|Music by||Alexander Courage,|
|Edited by||John D. Dunning|
The operatic sequences were staged by Vladimir Rosing. The film stars Glenn Ford, Eleanor Parker, Roger Moore, and Cecil Kellaway. The singing voice of Lawrence was provided by Eileen Farrell; Farrell also appears on screen as a student struggling to hit a high note in a scene with the singing teacher Mme. Gilly (Ann Codee).
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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 ends her career but briefly robs her of the will to live.
The book was published in 1950. The Chicago Tribune called it "engrossing".
In June 1951 MGM, who had a huge success with another biopic of an opera singer, The Great Caruso, announced they had bought the screen rights to the book. Jack Cummings was going to produce and Kathryn Grayson was a possible star. Other possible stars were Greer Garson and Deborah Kerr, who would use Lawrence's voice. Lawrence flew to Hollywood in July to have discussions wiht Cummings and Sonya Levien who was to do the script.
However filming did not proceed. In July 1952 MGM said Garson would be playing the lead and William Ludwig was working on the script. By February 1953 the studio had postponed production again.
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."
A key support role was given to Roger Moore who had just made The Last Time I Saw Paris for MGM and been put under contract to the studio.
Filming started in September 1954. According to Eleanor Parker, the filmmakers could not use Marjorie Lawrence's voice because she had lost her upper register. The singing was done by Eileen Farrell, who plays a small part in the film.
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.
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 just lip-synching. Walter Ducloux conducted the MGM Studio Symphony Orchestra. MGM published a selection of eleven numbers on an original motion picture soundtrack album.
- "O don fatale" from Verdi's Don Carlos
- Act 1 finale from Verdi's Il trovatore
- "Un bel dì" from Puccini's Madama Butterfly
- "Habanera" from Bizet's Carmen
- "Seguidilla" from Carmen
- "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix" from Saint-Saëns' Samson and Delilah
- Brünnhilde's Immolation Scene from Wagner's Götterdämmerung
- Excerpts from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde
- "Annie Laurie" by Alicia Scott
- "Over the Rainbow" by Harold Arlen
- "Voi que sapete" from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro
- Medley: "Anchors Aweigh" by Charles A. Zimmermann; "Marines' Hymn", based on works by Jacques Offenbach; "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" by Sam H. Stept
- "Quando me'n vo'" (Musetta's Waltz) from Puccini's La bohème
- "Waltzing Matilda", traditional
- Griffin, Helga M. Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 19 January 2017 – via Australian Dictionary of Biography.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- Domestic take see also "The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955", Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956.
- "Interrupted Melody (1955) - Curtis Bernhardt - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related - AllMovie". Retrieved 19 January 2017.
- ON THE AISLE: Lawrence Calls Her Story 'Interrupted Melody' And Garson Wants To Do It On The Screen Cassidy, Claudia. Chicago Daily Tribune 17 Dec 1947: 39.
- Diva's Story of Fight for Fame and Life Barry, Edward. Chicago Daily Tribune29 Jan 1950: I11.
- FILM GUILD MOVES AGAINST FOX CUTS: Screen Writers Are Urged Not to Comply With Proposal for Salary Reductions By THOMAS F. BRADY New York Times 6 June 1951: 37.
- Drama: Garson Likely to Act Lawrence Role; Bettger, Lockhart Villainous Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]19 June 1951: B7.
- Barrie Play at Paramount New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]20 July 1951: 13.
- 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 By THOMAS M. PRYOR New York Times 24 Dec 1951: 9.
- Drama: Garson in 'Interrupted Melody;' Bacon-Bergman and Bjork Deals on Fire Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]11 July 1952: B9.
- KNOPF TO PRODUCE STORY BY ERSKINE: Unpublished 'Diane de Poitiers' Will Be Filmed Independently -- Garson Eyed for Lead By THOMAS M. PRYOR New York Times 16 Feb 1953: 16.
- Drama: Ursula Thiess New Star of 'Americano;' Disney Sets Verne Launching Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]26 Dec 1953: A7.
- METRO FILLS LEAD IN FILM OF SINGER: Eleanor Parker Will Portray Marjorie Lawrence in 'Interrupted Melody' By THOMAS M. PRYOR. New York Times 7 Apr 1954: 42.
- "Eleanor Parker: Incognito, but Invincible" (PDF). Noir City Sentinel. Summer 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-10-19.
- La Jolla Film Festival Plans Expand; Brynner Cited as 'Matador' Star Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 19 June 1954: 13.
- Eleanor Parker Will Be Wed Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times 16 Nov 1954: A2.
- Eleanor Parker Plays Convincing Diva Role: Lawrence Life Story Applauded Scott, John L. Los Angeles Times 13 Feb 1955: D3.
- "Eleanor Parker: More Than Just the Sound of Music Baroness" by Richard Corliss, Time, December 20, 2013
- Interrupted Melody on IMDb
- Interrupted Melody at Rotten Tomatoes
- Interrupted Melody at AllMovie
- Interrupted Melody at the TCM Movie Database
- Interrupted Melody at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Intro/outro to Interrupted Melody with Robert Osborne and Renée Fleming, Turner Classic Movies
- Original trailer