A Song to Remember DVD
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Directed by Charles Vidor
Produced in 1945
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
Cornel Wilde, Merle Oberon and Muni star in this 6 Oscar nominated Chopin biopic, filled with his glorious music. It's a classic piece of Hollywood storytelling, says Nick Riddle.
The brief career of Frederic Chopin has attracted more than its share of movie interpretations, and Charles Vidor’s account plays as fast and loose with the facts as any of them. But it’s undeniably spellbinding as a piece of classic Hollywood storytelling.
Cornel Wilde was Oscar-nominated for his portrayal of the Polish composer whose fierce patriotism is swayed by his love affair with the trouser-wearing free spirit George Sand (Merle Oberon, at first striking but ultimately rather shrewish). When he loses his way, it’s up to his faithful teacher, Professor Elsner (Paul Muni), to put him right.
During the performance scenes, Vidor’s camera becomes almost weightless, sweeping around salons and concert halls, and helps to keep the film’s tone just the right side of kitsch (its lush designs allegedly inspired Liberace’s stage persona). Made towards the end of the Second World War, its background of repression in Central Europe must have struck a chord with Vidor and Wilde, both native Hungarians. Wilde and Oberon are both perfectly fine, but the laurels go to the famously versatile Muni (best remembered for his title role in Scarface), who brims over with bumbling charm and dignity. Watch out, too, for George Coulouris, a character actor whose career included roles in Citizen Kane, The Long Good Friday, The Prisoner, and a 1964 episode of Dr Who.
Nick Riddle on 24th October 2011
Author of 62 reviews
Nominated for 6 Oscars, the Technicolor biopic A Song to Remember was one of the most successful filmed biographies of the 1940s, presenting the fictionalised life story of Polish pianist and composer Frédéric Chopin, starring Cornel Wilde as the composer and Merle Oberon as George Sand, with whom he shares a torrid romance.
Sumptuously photographed, there is much to enjoy here, not least Paul Muni's singular performance as Chopin's mentor, Professor Joseph Elsner, and of course, Chopin's music.
Publisher: Sony Pictures
Length: 107 mins
Cat No: CDR10394
Format: DVD Colour