Interrupted Melody (1955)

105-106 mins | Biography, Musical | 1 July 1955

Director:

Curtis Bernhardt

Producer:

Jack Cummings

Cinematographers:

Joseph Ruttenberg, Paul C. Vogel

Editor:

John Dunning

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Daniel B. Cathcart

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The film's opening credits modified the standard disclaimer to read: "But for few people, events and institutions prominent in the world of opera, all other events, characters and institutions depicted in this photoplay are fictitious..." As depicted in the film, dramatic soprano Marjorie Lawrence (1907--1979) left her native Australia for Paris in 1928, and made her professional debut in Monte Carlo in 1932. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1935, and was at the peak of her career when she married Dr. Thomas King in 1941. After being stricken with polio, Lawrence entertained troops in the South Pacific in 1944, and toured occupied Europe in 1945 and 1948. Lawrence stopped performing in 1952, and became a voice instructor and director of opera workshops.
       In an Apr 1955 article in Cosmopolitan , gossip columnist Louella O. Parsons wrote about attending a party at the home of agent Wynn Rocomora, at which Lawrence, King and actress Greer Garson were also guests. Parsons claimed that the idea for the film version of Lawrence's life was born that night, but that the project was delayed because of emergence of new technological developments, such as 3-D and CinemaScope: "The Lawrence story...had to wait until our producers found out whether the public was going to want its pictures upside down or inside out."
       Dec 1951 HR news items named Deborah Kerr, and then Lana Turner, as the star of the film, and a Jul 1952 news item reported that Garson would portray Lawrence. HR news items add Nestor Eristoff, Dick Simmons, James Drury and Ronald Green to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been ... More Less

The film's opening credits modified the standard disclaimer to read: "But for few people, events and institutions prominent in the world of opera, all other events, characters and institutions depicted in this photoplay are fictitious..." As depicted in the film, dramatic soprano Marjorie Lawrence (1907--1979) left her native Australia for Paris in 1928, and made her professional debut in Monte Carlo in 1932. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1935, and was at the peak of her career when she married Dr. Thomas King in 1941. After being stricken with polio, Lawrence entertained troops in the South Pacific in 1944, and toured occupied Europe in 1945 and 1948. Lawrence stopped performing in 1952, and became a voice instructor and director of opera workshops.
       In an Apr 1955 article in Cosmopolitan , gossip columnist Louella O. Parsons wrote about attending a party at the home of agent Wynn Rocomora, at which Lawrence, King and actress Greer Garson were also guests. Parsons claimed that the idea for the film version of Lawrence's life was born that night, but that the project was delayed because of emergence of new technological developments, such as 3-D and CinemaScope: "The Lawrence story...had to wait until our producers found out whether the public was going to want its pictures upside down or inside out."
       Dec 1951 HR news items named Deborah Kerr, and then Lana Turner, as the star of the film, and a Jul 1952 news item reported that Garson would portray Lawrence. HR news items add Nestor Eristoff, Dick Simmons, James Drury and Ronald Green to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Although an Apr 1954 HR news item stated that Lawrence's voice had been recorded for the film, opera star Eileen Farrell provided the singing voice for Lawrence's character. According to an Oct 1954 news item in HR , Joseph Ruttenberg substituted for cinematographer Paul C. Vogel after Vogel was injured in an automobile accident. Both men are listed as directors of photography in the onscreen credits. A Jan 1953 HR news item named Wolfgang Martin as music director, but Walter Du Cloux is credited onscreen. Leopold Sachse, who portrayed himself in the film, was a longtime stage director at the Metropolitan Opera.
       According to studio publicity material contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library, the design crew used oversized props, such as a telegram and pill bottle, so that these objects would appear normal-sized on the CinemaScope screen. Interrupted Melody received the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and was nominated for Best Actress (Eleanor Parker) and Best Costume Design (Color). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 Mar 1955.
---
Cosmopolitan
Apr 1955.
---
Daily Variety
27 Jan 1955.
---
Daily Variety
25 Mar 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Mar 55
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1951.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Dec 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 53
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 54
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 54
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 54
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 54
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 54
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 54
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 54
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 54
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Dec 54
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 55
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 55
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 55
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 Mar 55
p. 377.
New York Times
6 May 55
p. 18.
Time
9 May 1955.
---
Variety
30 Mar 55
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Phyllis Coghlan
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Operatic seq staged by
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Props
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Operatic rec supv and cond
Mus supv
Dramatic mus score adpt and cond
Mus adv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hair styles
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Scr supv
Asst to Vladimir Rosing
STAND INS
Singing voice double for Eleanor Parker
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Interrupted Melody by Marjorie Lawrence (New York, 1949).
SONGS
"O Don Fatale" from the opera Don Carlos , music by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by François Joseph Méry and Camille Du Locle
"Habenera" and "Seguidilla" from the opera Carmen , music by Georges Bizet, libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
"Musetta's Waltz" from the opera La Bohème , music by Giacomo Puccini, libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
+
SONGS
"O Don Fatale" from the opera Don Carlos , music by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by François Joseph Méry and Camille Du Locle
"Habenera" and "Seguidilla" from the opera Carmen , music by Georges Bizet, libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
"Musetta's Waltz" from the opera La Bohème , music by Giacomo Puccini, libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
First act finale from the opera Il Trovatore , music by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by Salvatore Cammarano
"Un bel di" from the opera Madame Butterfly , music by Giacomo Puccini, libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
"My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice" from the opera Samson and Delilah , music by Camille Saint-Saëns, libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire
Immolation scene from the opera Götterdämmerung , music and libretto by Richard Wagner
Prelude and excerpts from the opera Tristan und Isolde , music and libretto by Richard Wagner
"Annie Laurie," music by Lady John Scott, lyrics by William Douglas
"Over the Rainbow," music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E. Y. Harburg
"Anchors Aweigh," music by Charles A. Zimmerman, lyrics by Alfred Hart Miles and R. Lovell
"The Marine's Hymn," music based on a theme from the opera Geneviève de Brabant by Jacques Offenbach, lyrics anonymous, arranged by L. Z. Phillips
"Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (with Anyone Else But Me)," music and lyrics by Lew Brown, Charles Tobias and Sam Stept
"Waltzing Matilda," music by Marie Cowan, lyrics by A. B. Paterson.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 July 1955
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Melbourne, Australia: 20 April 1955
New York opening: 5 May 1955
Production Date:
15 September--early December 1954
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
21 March 1955
Copyright Number:
LP4610
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Eastman Color
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
105-106
Length(in feet):
9,475
Length(in reels):
13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17316
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Early one morning, Marjorie Lawrence sneaks away from her family's sheep farm near Winchelsea, Australia, and catches a train to Geelong to compete in the operatic vocal competition. The following morning, Marjorie's father Bill reads in the newspaper that she has won the competition and been awarded a scholarship to study music in Paris. To the delight of her brothers and sisters, Bill lets Marjorie go with his blessing. In Paris, Marjorie is accepted as a pupil of renowned voice teacher Madame Gilly. A year later, Bill dies, and the grief-stricken Marjorie is ready to return to the farm when Madame Gilly informs the young singer that she has been selected for a production of La Bohème in Monte Carlo. Marjorie's operatic debut is a success, and she is offered a two-year contract. Overcome with emotion and lonely for her family, Marjorie meets an American, Dr. Thomas King, in the lobby of her Monte Carlo hotel. Thomas takes Marjorie out, and as they celebrate her opening with dancing and champagne, they begin to fall in love. Thomas tells her he has just completed a year's research at the Sorbonne and is about to return to the States to work at a children's hospital in New York City. After kissing passionately, Thomas and Marjorie reluctantly part so he can catch his boat. With her brother Cyril serving as her business manager, Marjorie goes on to triumph in several major operatic roles, and is invited to perform with the Paris Opera. Soon Marjorie makes her Metropolitan Opera debut, unaware that Thomas is watching from the balcony. Thomas goes backstage to congratulate her, and although she does not recognize him ... +


Early one morning, Marjorie Lawrence sneaks away from her family's sheep farm near Winchelsea, Australia, and catches a train to Geelong to compete in the operatic vocal competition. The following morning, Marjorie's father Bill reads in the newspaper that she has won the competition and been awarded a scholarship to study music in Paris. To the delight of her brothers and sisters, Bill lets Marjorie go with his blessing. In Paris, Marjorie is accepted as a pupil of renowned voice teacher Madame Gilly. A year later, Bill dies, and the grief-stricken Marjorie is ready to return to the farm when Madame Gilly informs the young singer that she has been selected for a production of La Bohème in Monte Carlo. Marjorie's operatic debut is a success, and she is offered a two-year contract. Overcome with emotion and lonely for her family, Marjorie meets an American, Dr. Thomas King, in the lobby of her Monte Carlo hotel. Thomas takes Marjorie out, and as they celebrate her opening with dancing and champagne, they begin to fall in love. Thomas tells her he has just completed a year's research at the Sorbonne and is about to return to the States to work at a children's hospital in New York City. After kissing passionately, Thomas and Marjorie reluctantly part so he can catch his boat. With her brother Cyril serving as her business manager, Marjorie goes on to triumph in several major operatic roles, and is invited to perform with the Paris Opera. Soon Marjorie makes her Metropolitan Opera debut, unaware that Thomas is watching from the balcony. Thomas goes backstage to congratulate her, and although she does not recognize him at first, Marjorie arranges for him to attend her opening night party. Thomas tells Marjorie he is becoming an obstetrician, and questions her about rumors that she is engaged to Comte Claude des Vigneux. Marjorie agrees to leave her party and go for a walk with Thomas, and soon begins avoiding the Comte's calls, to Cyril's dismay. As time passes, however, Marjorie grows frustrated over Thomas' reluctance to advance their relationship, and confronts him in his office. Thomas explains that her demanding career would get in the way of a stable marriage, so it is best that they stop seeing each other. Unwilling to give him up, Marjorie cancels her foreign engagements and assures Thomas she wants nothing more than to be his wife. They marry, and Marjorie jeopardizes her career with the Metropolitan Opera when she refuses to go on tour in Latin America to prepare for her role in Tristan und Isolde . Thomas insists that she go on tour, but refuses to leave his practice and accompany her lest he become nothing more than "Mr. Marjorie Lawrence." Later, during rehearsals, Marjorie begins to suffer from headaches, and her voice falters badly. She suddenly collapses, and Thomas flies to Latin America to be with her. Medical tests indicate that she has polio, and when Thomas visits Marjorie in the hospital, he finds her completely paralyzed. Marjorie eventually regains the use of her arms and shoulders, but her spirits remain low, and Thomas takes her to Florida to convalesce. One day, Thomas puts one of Marjorie's recordings on the phonograph and leaves the room, despite her pleas to turn it off. In desperation, Marjorie manages to crawl over to the phonograph and knock it over before collapsing in tears. When Thomas points out that she has succeeded in moving, Marjorie at last sees a glimmer of hope. She gradually begins singing again, and secures a guest engagement with the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, but panics and flees when it comes time to go onstage in her wheelchair. The following morning, Marjorie accidentally discovers that Thomas is struggling financially and has sold all the medical equipment in his New York office. She attempts to kill herself by taking an overdose of pills, but Thomas comes home unexpectedly and stops her. Convinced that Thomas really loves her the way she is, Marjorie urges him to return to New York alone and rebuild his practice while she remains in Florida with their maid Clara. Several weeks later, Thomas' old friend, Dr. Ed Ryson, drops by to visit. Ed, who is in the Army now, asks Marjorie to sing for the soldiers at the hospital, and as she faces the room full of injured men--many of them also in wheelchairs--she rediscovers her confidence and pleasure in singing. Marjorie goes on to entertain the troops overseas, then returns to the Metropolitan to sing in a production of Tristan und Isolde that has been staged to accommodate her handicap. The day of the opening, Cyril calls on Thomas, who admits that he is terrified on Marjorie's behalf. That night, wearing leg braces under her costume, Marjorie performs with great poise and even manages to take a couple of hesitant steps. As Thomas watches her lovingly from the wings, an overcome Marjorie receives an enthusiastic ovation. +

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

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