MGM’s production Interrupted Melody (1955 – colour) starring gorgeous Eleanor Parker, Glenn Ford and Roger Moore, is one of the films I inadvertently lost when I left Yemen for good where I was staying with family for almost a decade. Luckily, I recently found this little gem amongst the collectables of a serious movie collector in Madrid who was generous enough to sell it to me.
The movie depicts events from the life of Australian farm-girl Marjorie Lawrence (1907-1979) who rose to stardom as a great Operatic soprano in spite of her fight against polio. With excellent cinematography (Joseph Ruttenberg/Paul Vogel), fine art direction (Cedric Gibbons/Daniel B. Cathcart), realistic make-up(William Tuttle), fabulous costumes (Helen Rose), and direction by Curtis Bernhardt, this melodramatic biography features many opera segments/arias (Carmen, Samson et Dalila, La Bohème, Il Trovatore, Götterdämmerung, Tristan and Isolde, ….), sung by 1940/50s soprano-legend Eileen Farrell (uncredited in this movie) since Marjorie was physically unable to do it though she wanted to record the song for the movie herself. Though Farrell’s vocal performance is brilliant in the movie including the aria from Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, the aria from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly unfortunately didn’t rise to the level of the version by our darling Maria Callas – an aria which has never failed to pull at my heart strings every time I listen to it – which is almost daily.
Eleanor Parker, for the third time, was nominated for an Oscar for her role of prima donna Marjorie (she lost to Italian actress Anna Magnani for her role in The Rose Tattoo), a role for which Geer Garson, Lana Turner, Kathryn Grayson were initialed considered by MGM.
With great music, wonderful operatic scenes, emotional performances, this romantic classic film from MGM library screams for reappraisal. How sad, they really don’t make them like this anymore.
(© This review is in tune with my project to promote my favourite movies from a bygone era. The past asks only to be remembered. JS/Manningtree Archive.)