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HISTORY

According to HR news items, The Climax was originally intended to be a sequel to Universal's highly successful 1943 release Phantom of the Opera (See Entry), which featured actors Claude Rains, Susanna Foster and Nelson Eddy, director Arthur Lubin and producer George Waggner. In Oct 1943, Eddy was replaced in the cast of The Climax by Turhan Bey, and producer Waggner was unable to acquire Rains for the role of "Dr. Frederick Hohner," so Boris Karloff was cast instead, according to HR . Due to last minute scheduling changes, Lubin then became unavailable, so Waggner assumed both producing and directing duties on the picture. HR news items include Grace Cunard, Maurice Costello, William Desmond, Stuart Holmes, Eddie Polo, Anne Cornwall, Jack Richardson, Harry Mayo, Gertrude Astor, Helen Gibson, Fred Curtis, Homer Dickinson and Barry Regan in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       Art directors John B. Goodman and Alexander Golitzen, along with set decorators Russell A. Gausman and Ira S. Webb, received Academy Award nominations for their interior decoration of The Climax , but lost to Wiard Ihnen and Thomas Little's work on Twentieth Century-Fox's Wilson (See Entry). Modern sources credit John P. Fulton with special effects. Modern sources also state that Waggner and composer Edward Ward based their musical compositions on themes by Chopin and Schubert. Universal had previously filmed the Edward Locke play under the same title in 1930, starring Jean Hersholt and Kathryn Crawford, directed by Renaud Hoffman (See ... More Less

According to HR news items, The Climax was originally intended to be a sequel to Universal's highly successful 1943 release Phantom of the Opera (See Entry), which featured actors Claude Rains, Susanna Foster and Nelson Eddy, director Arthur Lubin and producer George Waggner. In Oct 1943, Eddy was replaced in the cast of The Climax by Turhan Bey, and producer Waggner was unable to acquire Rains for the role of "Dr. Frederick Hohner," so Boris Karloff was cast instead, according to HR . Due to last minute scheduling changes, Lubin then became unavailable, so Waggner assumed both producing and directing duties on the picture. HR news items include Grace Cunard, Maurice Costello, William Desmond, Stuart Holmes, Eddie Polo, Anne Cornwall, Jack Richardson, Harry Mayo, Gertrude Astor, Helen Gibson, Fred Curtis, Homer Dickinson and Barry Regan in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       Art directors John B. Goodman and Alexander Golitzen, along with set decorators Russell A. Gausman and Ira S. Webb, received Academy Award nominations for their interior decoration of The Climax , but lost to Wiard Ihnen and Thomas Little's work on Twentieth Century-Fox's Wilson (See Entry). Modern sources credit John P. Fulton with special effects. Modern sources also state that Waggner and composer Edward Ward based their musical compositions on themes by Chopin and Schubert. Universal had previously filmed the Edward Locke play under the same title in 1930, starring Jean Hersholt and Kathryn Crawford, directed by Renaud Hoffman (See Entry). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
30 Sep 1944.
---
Daily Variety
4-Feb-43
---
Daily Variety
21 Sep 44
p. 3, 7
Down Beat
1 Mar 44
p. 6.
Film Daily
25 Sep 44
p. 10
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 43
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 1943.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Dec 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 44
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 44
p. 43, 47
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 44
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 44
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Mar 44
p. 1786.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
30 Sep 44
p. 2121.
New York Times
14 Dec 44
p. 28.
Variety
27 Sep 44
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus score and dir
Vocal dir
SOUND
Dir of sd
[Sd] tech
DANCE
Operettas staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
STAND INS
Singing voice double for George Dolenz
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Climax by Edward Locke (New York, 12 Apr 1909).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"The Boulevardier," "Some Day I Know," "The Magic Voice" and "Now at Last," music by Edward Ward, libretto by George Waggner.
DETAILS
Release Date:
20 October 1944
Premiere Information:
World premieres in Boston, MA and San Francisco, CA: 11 October 1944
Production Date:
1 February--late March 1944
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
25 October 1944
Copyright Number:
LP12927
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
86
Length(in feet):
7,016
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Ten years after strangling to death his sweetheart, opera singer Marcellina, because she would not give up her career for him, Dr. Frederick Hohner, the resident physician for the Royal Theater, overhears music student Angela Klatt singing a selection from The Magic Voice , the opera that Marcellina was starring in at the time of her death. While Frederick is incensed that Angela is performing music that he feels is "sacred," Count Seebruck, the theater's impresario, is impressed by the young woman's voice and offers her a part in the Royal Theater's next production. Angela is such a great success on opening night that Count Seebruck plans to revive The Magic Voice for her. Hearing this, Frederick lures Angela to his home, under the pretext of a required post-performance throat examination, and hypnotizes the young woman. Under the mad physician's spell, Angela is no longer able to sing, and Frederick gives her an atomizer to carry at all times to remind her of this hypnotic command. Count Seebruck then holds a press conference to announce his plans for Angela and The Magic Voice , but when the young woman attempts to sing an aria, her voice fails her and she rushes off stage in tears. Backstage, Frederick announces that Angela is suffering from nervous tension and suggests that the singer be placed under his care. With work on The Magic Voice in progress, Count Seebruck decides to replace Angela with Jarmila Vadek, the company's less talented prima donna, much to the chagrin of Franz Munzer, Angela's fiancé. While Frederick is at the theater, Franz sneaks into the physician's home ... +


Ten years after strangling to death his sweetheart, opera singer Marcellina, because she would not give up her career for him, Dr. Frederick Hohner, the resident physician for the Royal Theater, overhears music student Angela Klatt singing a selection from The Magic Voice , the opera that Marcellina was starring in at the time of her death. While Frederick is incensed that Angela is performing music that he feels is "sacred," Count Seebruck, the theater's impresario, is impressed by the young woman's voice and offers her a part in the Royal Theater's next production. Angela is such a great success on opening night that Count Seebruck plans to revive The Magic Voice for her. Hearing this, Frederick lures Angela to his home, under the pretext of a required post-performance throat examination, and hypnotizes the young woman. Under the mad physician's spell, Angela is no longer able to sing, and Frederick gives her an atomizer to carry at all times to remind her of this hypnotic command. Count Seebruck then holds a press conference to announce his plans for Angela and The Magic Voice , but when the young woman attempts to sing an aria, her voice fails her and she rushes off stage in tears. Backstage, Frederick announces that Angela is suffering from nervous tension and suggests that the singer be placed under his care. With work on The Magic Voice in progress, Count Seebruck decides to replace Angela with Jarmila Vadek, the company's less talented prima donna, much to the chagrin of Franz Munzer, Angela's fiancé. While Frederick is at the theater, Franz sneaks into the physician's home and whisks the now-bedridden Angela to safety. Upon the suggestion of his uncle, Carl Bauman, Franz goes to Count Seebruck and requests that Angela be given the chance to perform The Magic Voice before a full company and audience so that she may regain her voice and confidence. When the impresario refuses, Franz and Carl meet with the country's boy-king, who then orders a command performance by Angela. Arriving at the theater on opening night, Angela learns of the king's command, and she seemingly regains her voice when Franz accidentally breaks the atomizer that Frederick has placed in her dressing room. Realizing that his power over Angela is waning, Frederick abducts the young singer and returns her to his home, where he prepares to slit her vocal cords. She is rescued, however, by Franz, Carl and Luise, Frederick's housekeeper. While Frederick is held at gunpoint by Carl, Angela and Franz rush back to the theater just in time for the singer's stage entrance. Though she is hesitant at first, Angela regains her voice and confidence and begins to perform The Magic Voice . Meanwhile, at the physician's home, Frederick knocks Carl unconscious, but the police arrive before he can make his escape. Frederick then rushes upstairs to a hidden room, which he has made into a shrine around Marcellina's embalmed body, and is killed when he accidentally sets the room afire. Back at the theater, Angela successfully concludes her performance, and, amidst thunderous applause, is joined onstage by Franz. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.