Prelude to Fame

Prelude to Fame is a 1950 British drama film directed by Fergus McDonell and starring Guy Rolfe, Kathleen Byron and Kathleen Ryan. It is based on the 1924 story "Young Archimides" by Aldous Huxley, about a musical prodigy.

Prelude to Fame
Prelude to Fame.jpg
Directed byFergus McDonell
Produced byDonald B. Wilson
Written byAldous Huxley (story "Young Archimedes")
Robert Westerby
Bridget Boland
StarringGuy Rolfe
Kathleen Byron
Kathleen Ryan
Music byMuir Mathieson
CinematographyGeorge Stretton
Edited bySidney Hayers
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors (UK)
Universal-International (US)
Release date
2 May 1950 (UK)
9 November 1950 (US)
Running time
78 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


While vacationing in Italy, Nick Morell (Robin Dowell), son of John Morell (Guy Rolfe), a famous English philosopher and amateur musician and his wife Catherine (Kathleen Ryan), becomes friendly with young Guido (Jeremy Spenser). Morell discovers the boy has an extraordinary instinct for orchestration and a phenomenal music memory. A neighboring couple, Signor and Signora Boudini (Henry Oscar and Kathleen Byron) become aware of the boy's talents, and the Signora appeals to Guido's parents to let her educate him musically. Torn by their love for their son and the duty they feel to let the world hear his talent, they consent.

Guido is tutored by Dr. Lorenzo (John Slater). Signora Bondini denies the boy all contact with his parents and everyone else except her. She also has neither sent his letters to his family, nor let him see the ones they've sent to him. He becomes phenomenally successful and makes the grand tour of Europe, while Signora Bondini is enraptured by the acclaim given her through her "discovery" of the boy. She prepares to take him to America and also prepares adoption papers.


It was made at Pinewood Studios with sets designed by the art director Frederick Pusey. This was the last film produced in the Rank Organisation's "Independent Frame" production system, an attempt to innovate filmmaking.[1]



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