Song of Love (1947)

117 mins | Biography, Drama | October 1947

Director:

Clarence Brown

Producer:

Clarence Brown

Cinematographer:

Harry Stradling

Editor:

Robert J. Kern

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was A Love Story . The opening credits roll over a sequence in which "Clara" (Katharine Hepburn) is seen playing the piano in a command performance for the King of Bavaria. The order of the opening cast credits differs slightly from that of the closing credits. The film is prefaced by the following disclaimer: "In this story of Clara and Robert Schumann, of Johannes Brahms and Franz Liszt, certain necessary liberties have been taken with incident and chronology. The basic story of their lives remains a true and shining chapter in the history of music." Robert Schumann (1810-1856) met his prospective wife Clara Wieck (1819-1896) when he boarded with the Wieck family while studying the piano with her father. When Robert fell in love with Clara, who, at the time, was a sixteen-year old piano virtuoso, her father opposed the union, forcing the underaged Clara to petition the court to marry. Granted permission, the couple married the day before Clara's twenty-first birthday. Although biographical sources note that Clara loved touring and was a composer in her own right, her musical career was cut short by the arrival of the couple's eight children. In the early 1840's, Robert began to suffer from mental illness and was committed to an asylum after a suicide attempt in 1854. After Robert's death, Clara performed, taught and edited her husband's letters, becoming known as a champion and interpreter of his music. Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) met Robert Schumann in 1853. Schumann championed the young composer and arranged for the publication of his first songs and piano sonatas. Although Brahms ... More Less

The working title of this film was A Love Story . The opening credits roll over a sequence in which "Clara" (Katharine Hepburn) is seen playing the piano in a command performance for the King of Bavaria. The order of the opening cast credits differs slightly from that of the closing credits. The film is prefaced by the following disclaimer: "In this story of Clara and Robert Schumann, of Johannes Brahms and Franz Liszt, certain necessary liberties have been taken with incident and chronology. The basic story of their lives remains a true and shining chapter in the history of music." Robert Schumann (1810-1856) met his prospective wife Clara Wieck (1819-1896) when he boarded with the Wieck family while studying the piano with her father. When Robert fell in love with Clara, who, at the time, was a sixteen-year old piano virtuoso, her father opposed the union, forcing the underaged Clara to petition the court to marry. Granted permission, the couple married the day before Clara's twenty-first birthday. Although biographical sources note that Clara loved touring and was a composer in her own right, her musical career was cut short by the arrival of the couple's eight children. In the early 1840's, Robert began to suffer from mental illness and was committed to an asylum after a suicide attempt in 1854. After Robert's death, Clara performed, taught and edited her husband's letters, becoming known as a champion and interpreter of his music. Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) met Robert Schumann in 1853. Schumann championed the young composer and arranged for the publication of his first songs and piano sonatas. Although Brahms was a constant visitor to the Schumann house, he never lived with the family. Brahms never overcame his passion for Clara, who was fourteen years his senior, and remained devoted to her until her death in 1896.
       According to an Apr 1945 HR news item, M-G-M acquired the rights to Bernard Schubert's and Mario Silva's play in 1939, intending to produce it on Broadway. When the deal fell through, the studio decided to produce the property as a film in which Clara Schumann's role was to be tailored for Ingrid Bergman. According to an M-G-M publicity item contained in the AMPAS Library, Hepburn, whose piano playing, like that of her two co-stars, was dubbed by Artur Rubenstein, learned to play Schumann's "Carnival" for this picture. In addition to the songs listed in the credits, various selections from the music of Schumann, Liszt and Brahms were heard throughout the film. A Dec 1946 HR news item notes that Cologne's Gurzenich concert hall, the world's oldest concert hall, which was leveled by the Nazis, was recreated on the M-G-M lot for the film, encompassing a three story sound stage, 75 by 175 feet. HR news items in HR and LAT add that four of the Schumanns' grandchildren sued Loew's Inc. for $9,000,000 on the grounds that this film was "libelous, invaded their right of privacy and misappropriated a property right." The suit was dismissed. In his Oct 1954 decision, New York State Supreme Court Justice William C. Hecht, Jr. wrote: "The allegations of the complaint affirmatively admit that Robert Schumann and his sister were insane as depicted in defendant's motion picture." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 Jul 1947.
---
Daily Variety
21 Jul 1947.
---
Film Daily
21 Jul 47
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Apr 45
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 46
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 47
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jul 47
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 1954.
---
Independent Film Journal
4 Jan 47
p. 34.
Los Angeles Times
22 Oct 1954.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 Jul 47
p. 3745.
New York Times
10 Oct 47
p. 31.
Variety
23 Jul 47
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Clarence Brown Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Women's cost
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Symphony Orchestra cond
Mus adv
SOUND
Rec dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
Hair styles des by
STAND INS
Piano solos for Katharine Hepburn, Paul Henreid an
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Song of Love, the Life of Robert and Clara Schumann by Bernard Schubert and Mario Silva (unproduced).
MUSIC
Piano Concert No. 1 and "Mephisto Waltz" by Franz Liszt
"Traumerei," "Dedication," "Carnival" and "Arabesque" by Robert Schumann
Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Johannes Brahms.
SONGS
"As Years Go By," music and lyrics by Charles Tobias and Peter DeRose, based on Hungarian Dance No. 4 by Johannes Brahms.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
A Love Story
Release Date:
October 1947
Production Date:
5 November 1946--30 January 1947
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
12 July 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1234
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
117
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12252
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In Dresden, Germany, in 1839, pianist virtuoso Clara Wieck performs at a command performance of the King. After completing a piano concerto by noted composer Franz Liszt, Clara introduces "Traumerei," a piece composed by her lover, an unknown composer named Robert Schumann. Backstage, Clara is chastised by her overbearing father and teacher, Prof. Wieck, for playing the composition, but Clara replies that she is in love with Schumann. When Schumann asks for the underage Clara's hand in marriage, Wieck forbids the union, declaring that Schumann is unworthy of his famous daughter. Defying her father, Clara petitions the court for permission to marry. Just as the judge is about to rule in her father's favor, Liszt defends the marriage and praises Schumann's talent, thus winning the court's consent. As a wedding gift, Schumann writes a composition for his bride titled "Dedication." Years later, Schumann has failed to attain recognition as a composer and is forced to support his family by giving music lessons. Overburdened with seven young children, Clara has stopped playing the piano to rear her brood. On New Year's Eve, Johannes Brahms, a promising young composer, comes to study with Schumann. Although Brahms is instantly smitten by Clara, Schumann invites him to move into the family's home. At their New Year's party, the family and their guests follow tradition by telling their fortunes with melted tin soldiers. When Schumann's molten glob of metal congeals into the shape of a coffin, the room falls silent. Soon, Brahms becomes an indispensable member of the family, helping with the chores and the children and even convincing the housekeeper, Bertha, who has quit in frustration, ... +


In Dresden, Germany, in 1839, pianist virtuoso Clara Wieck performs at a command performance of the King. After completing a piano concerto by noted composer Franz Liszt, Clara introduces "Traumerei," a piece composed by her lover, an unknown composer named Robert Schumann. Backstage, Clara is chastised by her overbearing father and teacher, Prof. Wieck, for playing the composition, but Clara replies that she is in love with Schumann. When Schumann asks for the underage Clara's hand in marriage, Wieck forbids the union, declaring that Schumann is unworthy of his famous daughter. Defying her father, Clara petitions the court for permission to marry. Just as the judge is about to rule in her father's favor, Liszt defends the marriage and praises Schumann's talent, thus winning the court's consent. As a wedding gift, Schumann writes a composition for his bride titled "Dedication." Years later, Schumann has failed to attain recognition as a composer and is forced to support his family by giving music lessons. Overburdened with seven young children, Clara has stopped playing the piano to rear her brood. On New Year's Eve, Johannes Brahms, a promising young composer, comes to study with Schumann. Although Brahms is instantly smitten by Clara, Schumann invites him to move into the family's home. At their New Year's party, the family and their guests follow tradition by telling their fortunes with melted tin soldiers. When Schumann's molten glob of metal congeals into the shape of a coffin, the room falls silent. Soon, Brahms becomes an indispensable member of the family, helping with the chores and the children and even convincing the housekeeper, Bertha, who has quit in frustration, to return to work. Strain and overwork start to effect Schumann's mind, though, and he begins to suffer chronic headaches. To help with the family's finances, Clara briefly returns to the concert stage, causing Schumann increased feelings of failure and unworthiness. While Schumann throws himself into completing his opera Faust , Clara declines a lucrative offer to continue on the concert stage. Slipping further into depression, Schumann begins to compose morose, disturbing music, prompting Clara to worry that he may suffer the same fate as his sister, who committed suicide after suffering a nervous breakdown. When Schumann's opera is rejected, Clara hides the bad news from her husband and Brahms turns to Liszt for help. Interceding on his friend's behalf, Liszt convinces Reinecke, the owner of a concert hall, to open his season with Faust . No longer able to bear his unrequited love for Clara, Brahms leaves the Schumann home. While conducting the debut of his opera, Schumann suffers a mental breakdown and is subsequently committed to a mental institution. When, during a visit from Clara, Schumann offers to play his "new" composition, "Traumerei," Clara knows all is lost. Schumann dies shortly thereafter, and five years later, Brahms, now having achieved fame and fortune, comes to visit Clara. Surprised to find Clara still in mourning and having forsaken the piano, Brahms lectures her about her late husband's determination. Resentful, Clara rejects Brahms invitation to join him in Cologne for the debut of his new symphony, but later changes her mind. In Cologne, Brahms is so thrilled to glance up and see Clara in the audience that he whisks her out of the hall in the middle of the concert. Taking her to a wine garden, Brahms proposes to Clara, but when a gypsy violinist plays the strains of "Dedication," Clara realizes that she is still in love with her husband and must preserve his legacy by playing his music throughout the world. Returning to the stage in Dresden, she reprises "Traumerei" for the King. +

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

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