Strange Fascination (1952)

81 or 90 mins | Melodrama | December 1952

Director:

Hugo Haas

Writer:

Hugo Haas

Producer:

Hugo Haas

Cinematographer:

Paul Ivano

Production Designer:

Rudi Feld

Production Company:

Hugo Haas Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Pushover . Hugo Haas's onscreen credit reads: "Written, produced and directed by Hugo Haas." Copyright information lists a running time of 90 minutes, but reviews give the film's length as 81 ... More Less

The working title of this film was Pushover . Hugo Haas's onscreen credit reads: "Written, produced and directed by Hugo Haas." Copyright information lists a running time of 90 minutes, but reviews give the film's length as 81 minutes. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 Oct 1952.
---
Daily Variety
1 Oct 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Oct 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 52
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 52
p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Oct 52
p. 1550.
Variety
1 Oct 52
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
Wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Chief elec
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus cond
Piano solos played by
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Dial supv
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Const mgr
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Nocturne" by Jacob Gimbel.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Pushover
Release Date:
December 1952
Production Date:
19 March--4 April 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
29 September 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1946
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
81 or 90
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15904
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After a piano concerto is performed at Carnegie Hall, scruffy vagrant Paul Marvan, an Austrian, walks onto the stage of the empty hall and begins playing a haunting piano piece with one hand. As Paul plays, he recalls how drastically his life has changed: A year earlier Paul is playing at the Salzburg Music Festival with a full orchestra. Afterward, Paul is introduced to wealthy American socialite Diana Fowler, who offers to sponsor Paul in America. As he is unemployed, Paul accepts, but finds life unsettling in New York City especially after he moves in with Diana and her adult children, June and Walter, who wonder if their mother is growing emotionally attached to the pianist. Later, Paul expresses concern to his agent, Mr. Shiner, over the inconsequential cities on his tour, but Diana reassures him. The tour begins and one night in Philadelphia, Paul goes into a bar for a late-night dinner and orders at length while the floor show act, dancers Margo and Carlo, twirl through a tango. Afterward backstage, Margo complains bitterly to Carlo about Paul's insensitivity of talking during their act. Upon discovering Paul's identity, Margo attends his concert the next night with the intention of disrupting his performance, but instead is enthralled by his playing. Margo meets Paul afterward and over dinner reveals she may be in New York soon auditioning for a musical show. Paul finds Margo attractive, but leaves the next day for the remainder of his tour. Back in New York, Paul settles into his own apartment, repaying Diana when he gets occasional concert dates. Some time later, Margo unexpectedly telephones Paul ... +


After a piano concerto is performed at Carnegie Hall, scruffy vagrant Paul Marvan, an Austrian, walks onto the stage of the empty hall and begins playing a haunting piano piece with one hand. As Paul plays, he recalls how drastically his life has changed: A year earlier Paul is playing at the Salzburg Music Festival with a full orchestra. Afterward, Paul is introduced to wealthy American socialite Diana Fowler, who offers to sponsor Paul in America. As he is unemployed, Paul accepts, but finds life unsettling in New York City especially after he moves in with Diana and her adult children, June and Walter, who wonder if their mother is growing emotionally attached to the pianist. Later, Paul expresses concern to his agent, Mr. Shiner, over the inconsequential cities on his tour, but Diana reassures him. The tour begins and one night in Philadelphia, Paul goes into a bar for a late-night dinner and orders at length while the floor show act, dancers Margo and Carlo, twirl through a tango. Afterward backstage, Margo complains bitterly to Carlo about Paul's insensitivity of talking during their act. Upon discovering Paul's identity, Margo attends his concert the next night with the intention of disrupting his performance, but instead is enthralled by his playing. Margo meets Paul afterward and over dinner reveals she may be in New York soon auditioning for a musical show. Paul finds Margo attractive, but leaves the next day for the remainder of his tour. Back in New York, Paul settles into his own apartment, repaying Diana when he gets occasional concert dates. Some time later, Margo unexpectedly telephones Paul saying that she is in town and her show has flopped. She comes to Paul's apartment and explains that she has had an unpleasant break with Carlo and, fearful of his temper, has no place to go. When she pleads to stay with Paul, he grows alarmed at the implications, but she assures him it will only be for a short time. A few days later Margo learns her fears about Carlo were unfounded and prepares to depart, which upsets Paul. He implores her to stay while he goes on a brief tour, but she asks to accompany him instead. Strongly attracted to Margo and wary of convention, Paul takes her along and soon after marries her. Shiner breaks the news to Diana, who is disappointed. Poor weather brings a halt to the brief tour and, penniless, Paul requests an advance but discovers he has already taken out the maximum allowed. When Paul asks Diana for money, she refuses. Margo begins modeling to help pay the bills, but Paul quickly becomes jealous of her associations with men. Unable to secure any long-term bookings, Paul falls further into debt and when Margo loses her job, the couple moves into a small, tawdry flat. Paul agrees to play on a mixed program, which Margo scorns, but she responds enthusiastically when Carlo seeks her out for his new show. When Paul refuses to allow her to return to work, Margo secretly sees Carlo. Suspicious, Paul discovers her with Carlo and goes on a drinking binge, missing his concert, after which Shiner is unable to get him work. Margo turns down Carlo's offer and cannot understand Paul's willingness to play piano nightly in a bar. One night Paul phones Diana from the bar, again requesting money. Although deeply upset over his predicament, Diana refuses. Paul and Margo quarrel more and more about money and, when Margo suggests that he return to Diana, Paul tries to sell his music composition. Elated when a publisher appears interested, Paul telephones Margo only to learn that she is packing, having decided to leave him. Distracted, Paul is unable to play his piece at the publishing house and loses the deal. As he leaves the office, he stops by the printing presses and after avoiding a worker, sticks his hand into the machinery. Margo stays with Paul during his recovery and rejects Diana's offer of financial assistance, even after learning that Paul will never play again. Margo then hears that Carlo's show is a success and that he still wants her. While Paul files for the huge insurance claim on his hand, Diana visits Margo, who admits her marriage was a mistake. She asks Diana if she is in love with Paul, but Diana says she only cares about his ability to make music. Margo decides to return to Carlo and her career. When Paul arrives home from the hospital, he finds a farewell note from Margo and is informed by the insurance company that the worker who saw Paul at the publishing house has testified that the accident was self-inflicted. In the present, a crowd of derelicts have gathered in the empty hall and applauds Paul's playing enthusiastically. As Diana and June watch smiling, Paul happily plays for his new audience. +

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.