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5.0 2
Director: Jean Negulesco

Cast: John Abbott, Joan Crawford, John Garfield


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Fannie Hurst's novel Humoresque is the lachrymose tale of a famed Jewish-American violinist who forgets all about his friends and family in his rise to fame. Screenwriters Clifford Odets and Zachary Gold refashioned this timeworn material into a first-class, big-budget soap opera, completely dominated by the high-octane talents


Fannie Hurst's novel Humoresque is the lachrymose tale of a famed Jewish-American violinist who forgets all about his friends and family in his rise to fame. Screenwriters Clifford Odets and Zachary Gold refashioned this timeworn material into a first-class, big-budget soap opera, completely dominated by the high-octane talents of Joan Crawford and John Garfield. A gifted musician, Garfield rises from the slums to the upper echelons of society, thanks to the patronage of wealthy, alcoholic Crawford. Virtually ignored by her husband Paul Cavanaugh, Crawford adopts Garfield as her lover as well as her protégé. He is only mildly offended by the setup; she, on the other hand, becomes jealous and possessive. It is not a woman who comes between Crawford and Garfield: it the intensity of his talent, not to mention the spectre of the great composers whose works he interprets so brilliantly. Garfield's virago of a mother (Ruth Nelson) feeds upon Crawford's jealousy, planting the seeds of guilt for (allegedly) holding her son back. Finally, Crawford is driven to suicide; in a brilliantly directed and photographed sequence, she walks into the ocean, as Garfield is heard over the radio, playing "Liebstod" from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde with full orchestral accompaniment. The ultrastylish suffering of Joan Crawford and the street-punk insouciance of John Garfield (who looks like a "Dead End Kid" even while wearing a tux) is counterpointed by the phlegmatic comedy relief of Oscar Levant. Together with Mildred Pierce, Humoresque is the best of the Warner Bros. Joan Crawford vehicles.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
For the second film adaptation of Fannie Hurst's bestseller about a rising violinist and his forceful mother, screenwriters Clifford Odets and Zachary Gold added a dipsomaniac patroness of the arts, and Humoresque (1946) became a classy Warner Bros. vehicle for Joan Crawford as well as John Garfield. Stylishly directed by Jean Negulesco, Garfield's struggle between art and ambition is played out through his financial and then adulterous relationship with Crawford's glamorous socialite Helen, accompanied by Isaac Stern's violin dubbed in for Garfield's convincingly mimed performances of Anton Dvorak and Richard Wagner. Even as the deadpan comic presence of Oscar Levant as Paul's accompanist and best friend Sid occasionally leavens the atmosphere, the melodrama reaches its apex when Helen takes a last walk on the beach with Paul's rendition of the "Liebestod" from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde playing on the radio. Ernest Haller's dramatic chiaroscuro photography and Crawford's intense performance elevate that suicidal walk into compelling tragedy. Humoresque scored only one Oscar nomination, for Franz Waxman's score, despite doing brisk business and featuring some of Crawford's finest work, arguably even better than her Oscar-winning title role in Mildred Pierce a year earlier.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:

Special Features

Closed Caption; New featurette: The Music of Humoresque; Theatrical trailer; Subtitles: English, Français & Español

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Abbott Rozner
Joan Crawford Helen Wright
John Garfield Paul Boray
Paul Cavanagh Victor Wright
Oscar Levant Sid Jeffers
J. Carrol Naish Rudy Boray
Joan Chandler Gina
Tommy Cook Phil Boray as a Child
Tom D'Andrea Phil Boray
Peggy Knudsen Florence
Peg La Centra Nightclub Singer
Fritz Leiber Hagerstrom
Don McGuire Eddie
Ruth Nelson Esther Boray
Nestor Paiva Orchestra Leader
Craig Stevens Monte Loeffler
Richard "Hock" Walsh Teddy
Ann Lawrence Florence as a Girl
Don Turner Man with Dog
Sylvia Arslan Gina as a Girl
Richard Gaines Bauer
Patricia Barry Fritzie the Telephone Operator
Monte Blue Furniture Moving Man
Creighton Hale Professor
Robert Blake Paul Boray (younger)

Technical Credits
Jean Negulesco Director
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
Roy Davidson Special Effects
Rudi Fehr Editor
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Zachary Gold Screenwriter
Ernest Haller Cinematographer
Bernard Newman Costumes/Costume Designer
Clifford Odets Screenwriter
Hugh Reticker Art Director
Clarence I. Steensen Set Decoration/Design
Isaac Stern Consultant/advisor
Jerry Wald Producer
Franz Waxman Score Composer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Credits [1:11]
2. Your Biography [3:25]
3. Paul's Choice [4:18]
4. Maybe He'll Be Different [3:01]
5. Gina's Declaration [4:36]
6. No Guarantees [5:17]
7. Nearly on the Radio [3:34]
8. City Montage [2:45]
9. Broken Record [3:34]
10. Messrs. Wright and Wrong [3:10]
11. Party Performance [3:42]
12. The Flight of the Bumblebee [2:26]
13. Interested in Him [4:33]
14. Concert Debut [4:31]
15. Great Gifts [5:13]
16. Among her Possessions [4:55]
17. Tiresome Talk [3:39]
18. The Truth [2:12]
19. Mother's Advice [3:21]
20. Easy Does It, Gina [4:04]
21. Don't Close Me Out [1:37]
22. Symphony Espagnole [2:04]
23. You Know What She Is [4:59]
24. Hitting the Bull's Eye [5:01]
25. Carmen Fantasie [3:17]
26. Tired of Second Fiddle [5:11]
27. Conflicted Love [4:04]
28. Leave Him Alone [4:07]
29. She's All Alone [2:49]
30. Tristan and Isolde Fantasie [4:34]
31. Finale Ultimo [4:04]
32. Nothing Comes Free [6:26]
33. Cast List [1:51]


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Humoresque 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
metfan More than 1 year ago
"Humoresque" is one of the all-time great movie soap operas.The Clifford Odets-Zachary Gold script is a solid,witty,well-written adaptation of Fannie Hurst's popular novel.Jerry Wald provides a beautiful production that looks great in Ernest Haller's stunning black and white photography. Franz Waxman provides a gorgeous score that brilliantly combines his own lovely original music(although he is only credited as a conductor)and many well-known classical pieces.But the movie's best part is its excellent performances.Oscar Levant,J.Carroll Naish,Ruth Nelson,Robert Blake,and Joan Chandler stand out in a marvelous supporting cast.But the movie belongs to its two stars.Joan Crawford and John Garfiled are simply brilliant as a selfish society matron and the struggling violinist she falls for.Each gives one of their best performances.This is one of the best weepers of the '40s.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Forget the hackneyed story theme. The music in this pic is great, both from a standpoint of the music itself and its performance. Its application to the story intensifies the moods and meanings being presented. The movie itself is very enjoyable providing the emotional experience brought about by tragedy, comedy, struggle, and misperception. The characters provide glimpses of the various facets of life that we all experience to some extent but amplified for impact. Lighthearted and gutwrenching.