AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Interrupted Melody
Director: Curtis Bernhardt (Dir)
Release Date:   1 Jul 1955
Duration (in mins):  105-106
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Cast: Glenn Ford  (Dr. Thomas King)
  Eleanor Parker  (Marjorie Lawrence)
  Roger Moore  (Cyril Lawrence)
 

Summary: 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. 

Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.
Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Director: Curtis Bernhardt (Dir)
  Ridgeway Callow (Asst dir)
  Eric Von Stroheim Jr. (Asst dir)
  Vladimir Rosing (Operatic seq staged by)
Producer: Jack Cummings (Prod)
Writer: William Ludwig (Wrt)
  Sonya Levien (Wrt)

Subject Major: Marjorie Lawrence
  Marriage
  Opera singers
  Physicians
  Poliomyelitis
 
Subject Minor: Attempted suicide
  Australians
  La Bohème (Opera)
  Brothers and sisters
  Carmen (Opera)
  Contests
  Florida
  Hospitals
  Maids
  Managers (Entertainment)
  Metropolitan Opera (New York City)
  Paralysis
  Paris (France)
  Scholarships
  Soldiers
  Vocal instructors
  Wheelchairs

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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