Humoresque (1947)

123-124 or 126 mins | Melodrama | 25 January 1947

Director:

Jean Negulesco

Producer:

Jerry Wald

Cinematographer:

Ernest Haller

Editor:

Rudi Fehr

Production Designer:

Hugh Reticker

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to a 12 Mar 1945 studio memo from producer Jerry Wald to Warner Bros. executive Steve Trilling, reproduced in a modern source, large portions of Clifford Odets' script were originally written for the 1945 film Rhapsody in Blue , which was based on the life of George Gershwin (see below). Odets' script was not used in the final version of that film. In the Fanny Hurst story and its 1920 film screen adaptation, Humoresque , the character of the violinist was Jewish, and that background was an integral part of the story. Although an undated studio memo to Wald, reprinted in a modern source, states that screenwriter Barney Glazer, who worked on an early version of the script, wanted "Paul Boray" to remain Jewish, his ethnic background was left unspecified in the finished film. Undated press releases included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library announced that Irving Rapper was to direct the film, Waldo Salt to write it, James Wong Howe to photograph it, and Gig Young to star in it.
       HR news items add that Eleanor Parker was first assigned to the female lead. HR also notes that some scenes were shot on location at Laguna Beach, CA. According to the NYT review, Peg La Centra sings "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan," but this song was not heard in the viewed film. According to Oscar Levant's autobiography, two violinists doubled off-camera for John Garfield: while one did the fingering, the second used the bow. Other modern sources state that Garfield did the fingering himself, after taking ... More Less

According to a 12 Mar 1945 studio memo from producer Jerry Wald to Warner Bros. executive Steve Trilling, reproduced in a modern source, large portions of Clifford Odets' script were originally written for the 1945 film Rhapsody in Blue , which was based on the life of George Gershwin (see below). Odets' script was not used in the final version of that film. In the Fanny Hurst story and its 1920 film screen adaptation, Humoresque , the character of the violinist was Jewish, and that background was an integral part of the story. Although an undated studio memo to Wald, reprinted in a modern source, states that screenwriter Barney Glazer, who worked on an early version of the script, wanted "Paul Boray" to remain Jewish, his ethnic background was left unspecified in the finished film. Undated press releases included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library announced that Irving Rapper was to direct the film, Waldo Salt to write it, James Wong Howe to photograph it, and Gig Young to star in it.
       HR news items add that Eleanor Parker was first assigned to the female lead. HR also notes that some scenes were shot on location at Laguna Beach, CA. According to the NYT review, Peg La Centra sings "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan," but this song was not heard in the viewed film. According to Oscar Levant's autobiography, two violinists doubled off-camera for John Garfield: while one did the fingering, the second used the bow. Other modern sources state that Garfield did the fingering himself, after taking lessons from violinist Harry Zogan. Violinist Isaac Stern played the music heard on the soundtrack. Franz Waxman was nominated for an Academy Award for his musical score. The 1920 Famous Players-Lasky film Humoresque was directed by Frank Borzage and starred Gaston Glass and Vera Gordon (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.2096). On 29 Apr 1941, Screen Directors' Playhouse broadcast a version of the story. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 Dec 1946.
---
Daily Variety
23 Dec 46
p. 3.
Film Daily
26 Dec 46
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Sep 45
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 45
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Feb 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Apr 46
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Dec 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 46
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 Jan 46
p. 2786.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Dec 46
pp. 3363-64.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
28 Dec 46
pp. 3385-86.
New York Times
26 Dec 46
p. 28.
Variety
25 Dec 46
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stills
Stills gaffer
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
COSTUMES
Miss Crawford's ward by
Ward
MUSIC
Mus adv
Mus cond
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Unit pub
Scr clerk
Best boy
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Humoresque" by Fannie Hurst in The Cosmopolitan (Mar 1919).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Humoresque in G-flat Major" (Opus 101) by Antonín Dvorák
selections from the opera Carmen , music by Georges Bizet
"Liebestod" from the opera Tristan and Isolde by Richard Wagner
+
MUSIC
"Humoresque in G-flat Major" (Opus 101) by Antonín Dvorák
selections from the opera Carmen , music by Georges Bizet
"Liebestod" from the opera Tristan and Isolde by Richard Wagner
"Zigeunerweisen" by Pablo Sarasate
selections from Violin Concerto in E Minor by Felix Mendelssohn
Violin Concerto in D Major by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 22 by Henryk Wieniawski
Sonata for Piano and VIolin in A Major by César Franck, Symphonie Espagnole by Édouard Lalo
Piano Concerto in A Major by Edvard Grieg
Piano Concerto by Sergei Prokofiev
Polka by Dmitri Shostakovich
Waltz in A-flat Major by Johannes Brahms
Sonata in G Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.
+
SONGS
"Embraceable You," music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin
"What Is This Thing Called Love?" and "You Do Something to Me," music and lyrics by Cole Porter.
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 January 1947
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 25 December 1946
Production Date:
mid December 1945--mid April 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
25 January 1947
Copyright Number:
LP793
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
123-124 or 126
Length(in feet):
11,210
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After renowned violinist Paul Boray cancels his New York City performance, he tells Frederick Bauer, his manager, how much he wishes he were still the simple, happy child that he used to be: Paul first becomes interested in the violin as a child on New York's East Side in 1920 and chooses the instrument, rather than a toy, for a birthday present. Encouraged by his mother Esther, Paul becomes proficient and attends music school. During the Depression of the 1930s, the family grocery store suffers. Phil, Paul's older brother, who is out of work, resents the fact that Paul spends his time practicing instead of working. Wounded by his brother's comments, Paul gets a job with a radio orchestra with the help of his friend, pianist Sid Jeffers, but is fired when he objects to the station's policy of cutting compositions to fit into an allotted time. Paul then decides that he is ready to make his concert debut. Sid suggests that he attend a party at the home of socialites Helen and Victor Wright, where he might meet people who will help him financially. Despite Paul's surly attitude, Helen is intrigued by his talent and offers to help him become established as an artist. She introduces him to Bauer and pays for his first public recital. Afterward, Paul's family has a small party in his honor, which he misses because he is celebrating with the Wrights. Esther warns Paul not to become involved with Helen and reminds him about Gina, a fellow student, who loves him. With Helen's aid, Paul becomes a successful performer, and eventually, he and Helen ... +


After renowned violinist Paul Boray cancels his New York City performance, he tells Frederick Bauer, his manager, how much he wishes he were still the simple, happy child that he used to be: Paul first becomes interested in the violin as a child on New York's East Side in 1920 and chooses the instrument, rather than a toy, for a birthday present. Encouraged by his mother Esther, Paul becomes proficient and attends music school. During the Depression of the 1930s, the family grocery store suffers. Phil, Paul's older brother, who is out of work, resents the fact that Paul spends his time practicing instead of working. Wounded by his brother's comments, Paul gets a job with a radio orchestra with the help of his friend, pianist Sid Jeffers, but is fired when he objects to the station's policy of cutting compositions to fit into an allotted time. Paul then decides that he is ready to make his concert debut. Sid suggests that he attend a party at the home of socialites Helen and Victor Wright, where he might meet people who will help him financially. Despite Paul's surly attitude, Helen is intrigued by his talent and offers to help him become established as an artist. She introduces him to Bauer and pays for his first public recital. Afterward, Paul's family has a small party in his honor, which he misses because he is celebrating with the Wrights. Esther warns Paul not to become involved with Helen and reminds him about Gina, a fellow student, who loves him. With Helen's aid, Paul becomes a successful performer, and eventually, he and Helen fall in love. When Victor offers Helen a divorce, she hurries to the hall where Paul is rehearsing to tell him, but he refuses to interrupt the rehearsal to talk to her. Helen feels that his dedication is a rejection and, as she often does, eases her pain by drinking. Later, Paul and Helen are reconciled and make plans to marry. Helen then attempts to make peace with Esther, who reminds Helen about her three previous marriages and begs her to consider the effect her drinking and need for attention will have on Paul's career. One night, while Paul performs on the radio, a drunken Helen realizes that she will never mean as much to Paul as his music and walks into the ocean to her death. Paul is devastated and cancels his concert appearances, but now knows that he must go on with his music. +

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.