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Torch Song
     

Torch Song

Director: Charles Walters, Joan Crawford, Michael Wilding, Gig Young

Cast: Charles Walters, Joan Crawford, Michael Wilding, Gig Young

 
Joan Crawford's first Technicolor feature has come to be known as a textbook example of "high camp." Crawford stars as musical comedy luminary Jenny Stewart, who has been hardened by the worst life has to offer. Romance enters her life in the form of her new piano accompanist, blinded war-veteran Tye Graham (Michael Wilding). The fact that Graham refuses to kowtow to

Overview

Joan Crawford's first Technicolor feature has come to be known as a textbook example of "high camp." Crawford stars as musical comedy luminary Jenny Stewart, who has been hardened by the worst life has to offer. Romance enters her life in the form of her new piano accompanist, blinded war-veteran Tye Graham (Michael Wilding). The fact that Graham refuses to kowtow to the temperamental Jenny's demands, coupled with the adversarial behavior of Graham's seeing-eye dog, makes the pianist all the more attractive to the lonely songstress. Torch Song is a favorite of bad-movie buffs and female impersonators the world over: Highlights include Crawford's blackface musical number, and the now-classic scene in which she simulates blindness to better understand the taciturn Graham. Director Charles Walters, a former choreographer, appears as Crawford's two-left-feet dancing partner in the opening scenes.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A prime example of the "incredibly-bad-but-enormously-entertaining" film, Torch Song is a hoot from start to finish and a favorite of bad film aficionados. Playing the kind of tough hardened dame that had become her trademark (she "has the mouth of an angel, but the words that come out are pure tramp," as one character says), Joan Crawford turns in the kind of over-the-top, ludicrous performance that is entirely removed from reality, yet maintains an undeniable fascination; one simply cannot look away. Much the same can be said of the entire film, which tends to elicit a "Did-they-really-say-that?" response from viewers. Filled with incredible, instantly quotable dialogue (such as Crawford snapping to the blind Michael Wilding, "Why don't you get yourself a seeing-eye girl," or criticizing a chorus boy who trips over her leg with "He gets paid a very handsome salary to dance around that leg!"), the script piles cliché upon cliché and sidesteps no opportunity to provide its star with a "big scene," no matter how poorly set up. Even the physical production provokes laughs, from the inch-thick make-up on the star to the faux-modern bedroom set. The piece-de-resistance, however, is the legendary "Two Faced Woman" number, featuring staggeringly inept choreography, gaudy costumes, an all-too-obviously dubbed Crawford and possibly the most embarrassing use of blackface ever in a major production. (Crawford's emotional outburst at the end of the number is in a class by itself.) Torch Song may not have turned out to be the kind of film its star intended it to be, but it is definitely a memorably experience.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/28/2017
UPC:
0888574474997
Original Release:
1953
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Time:
1:30:00
Sales rank:
5,452

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Joan Crawford Jenny Stewart
Michael Wilding Tye Graham
Gig Young Cliff Willard
Marjorie Rambeau Mrs. Stewart
Henry Morgan Joe Denner
Dorothy Patrick Martha
James Todd Philip Norton
Eugene Loring Gene the Dance Director
Paul Guilfoyle Monty Rolfe
Benny Rubin Charlie Maylor
Peter Chong Peter
Maide Norman Anne
Chris Warfield Chuck Peters
Rudy Render Party Singer
Adolph Deutsch Conductor
Mimi Gibson Susie
Peggy King Cora
Mitchell Lewis Bill the Doorman
Reginald Simpson Cab Driver
Charles Walters Ralph Ellis
John Rosser Chauffeur
Nancy Gates Celia Stewart

Technical Credits
Charles Walters Director,Choreography
Albert Akst Editor
Preston Ames Art Director
Henry Berman Producer
Adolph Deutsch Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Sidney Franklin Producer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
John Michael Hayes Screenwriter
Jan Lustig Screenwriter
Robert Planck Cinematographer
Helen Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
Charles Schnee Producer

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