AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Interrupted Melody
Director: Curtis Bernhardt (Dir)
Release Date:   1 Jul 1955
Premiere Information:   World premiere in Melbourne, Australia: 20 Apr 1955; New York opening: 5 May 1955
Production Date:   15 Sep--early Dec 1954
Duration (in mins):   105-106
Duration (in feet):   9,475
Duration (in reels):   13
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Cast:   Glenn Ford (Dr. Thomas King)  
    Eleanor Parker (Marjorie Lawrence)  
    Roger Moore (Cyril Lawrence)  
    Cecil Kellaway (Bill Lawrence)  
    Peter Leeds (Dr. Ed Ryson)  
    Evelyn Ellis (Clara)  
    Walter Baldwin (Jim Owens)  
    Ann Codee (Mme. Gilly)  
    Leopold Sachse (Himself)  
    Stephen Bekassy (Comte Claude des Vigneux)  
    Charles R. Keane (Ted Lawrence)  
    Fiona Hale (Eileen Lawrence)  
    Rudolf Petrak (Tenor)  
    Claude Stroud (Tenor)  
    Stapleton Kent (Station man)  
    Ann Howard (Contestant)  
    Donna Jo Gribble (Contestant)  
    Janet Comerford (Contestant)  
    Phyllis Coghlan (Mother)  
    Ivis Goulding (Mother)  
    Jean Fenwick (Mother)  
    Doris Lloyd (Volunteer worker)  
    Alex Frazer (Adjudicator)  
    Penny Santon (Mme. Gilly's secretary)  
    Phyllis Altivo (Louise)  
    Peter Camlin (French messenger)  
    George Davis (French hotel clerk)  
    David Leonard (Elderly man)  
    Eugene Borden (French headwaiter)  
    Jerry Martin (Taxi driver)  
    Gabor Curtiz (Tenor's manager)  
    Andre Charlot (M. Bertrand)  
    Paul McGuire (Metropolitan cashier)  
    Doris Merrick (Nurse)  
    Jo Gilbert (Nurse)  
    Lois Kimbrille (Nurse)  
    Sandra Descher (Suzie)  
    Jack Raine (Mr. Norson)  
    Freda Stoll (Accompanist)  
    Gloria Rhods (Mrs. Schultz)  
    William Vedder (Metropolitan attendant)  
    Charles Evans (Director of Metropolitan)  
    Martin Garralaga (Dr. Ortega)  
    William Forrest (Dr. Richards)  
    Stuart Whitman (Man on the beach)  
    Bob Dix (Man on the beach)  
    Paul Bryar (Florida conductor)  
    Walter Du Cloux (Metropolitan conductor)  
    Jack Grinnage (Corp. Michael Watkins)  
    Robert Carson (Brigadier general)  
    Michael Dugan (Sentry)  
    Lomax Study (Metropolitan stage manager)  
    Edward Colmans (Italian man)  
    Anthony Merrill (Assistant stage manager)  
    Gene Roth (King Mark)  
    John Close (Tristan man)  
    William Olvis (Tenor in "Seguidilla" seq)  
    Heinz Blankenberg (Baritone in La Bohème, Il Trovatore and Tristan und Isolde seq)  
    Edwin Dunning (Baritone in La Bohème seq)  
    Charles Gonzales (Bass in La Bohème seq)  
    Desire Ligeti (Bass in Tristan und Isolde seq)  
    Marcella Reale (Soprano in La Bohème seq)  
    Armand Tokatyan (Tenor in La Bohème seq)  
    Jean Bonacorsi (Contralto in Tristan und Isolde seq)  
    Tudor Williams (Singer in Tristan und Isolde seq)  
    Frederick Klassen (Singer in Tristan und Isolde seq)  
    Gilbert Russell (Tenor in Il Trovatore seq)  
    Jeanne Determan (Soprano in Tristan und Isolde seq)  
    Joseph Gaudio (Samson in Samson and Delilah seq)  
    Colin Harvey (Singer)  
    Francis Barnes (Singer)  
    Edwin Dunning (Singer)  
    John Ford (Singer)  
    Oliver Cross    
    Estelle Etterre    
    Bess Flowers    
    Edwin Tuttle    
    Louis Bates    
    Major Sam Harris    

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. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's Inc.)
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
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)
Photography: Joseph Ruttenberg (Dir of photog)
  Paul C. Vogel (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
  Daniel B. Cathcart (Art dir)
Film Editor: John Dunning (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis (Set dec)
  Jack D. Moore (Set dec)
  Harry Edwards (Props)
  Larry Keethe (Props)
Costumes: Helen Rose (Cost des)
Music: Walter Du Cloux (Operatic rec supv and cond)
  Saul Chaplin (Mus supv)
  Adolph Deutsch (Dramatic mus score adpt and cond)
  Harold Gelman (Mus adv)
Sound: Wesley C. Miller (Rec supv)
  James Brock (Sd)
  Kurt Hernnfeld (Sd ed)
  Ralph George (Sd ed)
Special Effects: Warren Newcombe (Spec eff)
Make Up: Sydney Guilaroff (Hair styles)
  William Tuttle (Makeup created by)
Production Misc: Jay Marchant (Unit mgr)
  Mollie Kent (Scr supv)
  Marjorie MacKay (Asst to Vladimir Rosing)
Stand In: Eileen Farrell (Singing voice double for Eleanor Parker)
Color Personnel: Alvord Eiseman (Col consultant)
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "O Don Fatale" from the opera Don Carlos , music by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by François Joseph Méry and Camille Du Locle; "Habenera" and "Seguidilla" from the opera Carmen , music by Georges Bizet, libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy; "Musetta's Waltz" from the opera La Bohème , music by Giacomo Puccini, libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica; First act finale from the opera Il Trovatore , music by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by Salvatore Cammarano; "Un bel di" from the opera Madame Butterfly , music by Giacomo Puccini, libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica; "My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice" from the opera Samson and Delilah , music by Camille Saint-Saëns, libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire; Immolation scene from the opera Götterdämmerung , music and libretto by Richard Wagner; Prelude and excerpts from the opera Tristan und Isolde , music and libretto by Richard Wagner; "Annie Laurie," music by Lady John Scott, lyrics by William Douglas; "Over the Rainbow," music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E. Y. Harburg; "Anchors Aweigh," music by Charles A. Zimmerman, lyrics by Alfred Hart Miles and R. Lovell; "The Marine's Hymn," music based on a theme from the opera Geneviève de Brabant by Jacques Offenbach, lyrics anonymous, arranged by L. Z. Phillips; "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (with Anyone Else But Me)," music and lyrics by Lew Brown, Charles Tobias and Sam Stept; "Waltzing Matilda," music by Marie Cowan, lyrics by A. B. Paterson.
Composer: Harold Arlen
  Georges Bizet
  Lew Brown
  Salvatore Cammarano
  Marie Cowan
  William Douglas
  Camille Du Locle
  Giuseppe Giacosa
  Ludovic Halévy
  E. Y. Harburg
  Luigi Illica
  Ferdinand Lemaire
  R. Lovell
  Henri Meilhac
  François Joseph Méry
  Alfred Hart Miles
  Jacques Offenbach
  A. B. Paterson
  L. Z. Phillips
  Giacomo Puccini
  Camille Saint-Saëns
  Lady John Scott
  Sam Stept
  Charles Tobias
  Giuseppe Verdi
  Richard Wagner
  Charles A. Zimmerman
Source Text: Based on the book Interrupted Melody by Marjorie Lawrence (New York, 1949).
Authors: Marjorie Lawrence

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Loew's Inc. 21/3/1955 dd/mm/yyyy LP4610 Yes

PCA NO: 17316
Physical Properties: Sd: Western Electric Sound System
  col: Eastman Color
  Widescreen/ratio: CinemaScope

 
Genre: Biography
  Musical
 
Subjects (Major): Marjorie Lawrence
  Marriage
  Opera singers
  Physicians
  Poliomyelitis
 
Subjects (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

Note: The film's opening credits modified the standard disclaimer to read: "But for few people, events and institutions prominent in the world of opera, all other events, characters and institutions depicted in this photoplay are fictitious..." As depicted in the film, dramatic soprano Marjorie Lawrence (1907--1979) left her native Australia for Paris in 1928, and made her professional debut in Monte Carlo in 1932. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1935, and was at the peak of her career when she married Dr. Thomas King in 1941. After being stricken with polio, Lawrence entertained troops in the South Pacific in 1944, and toured occupied Europe in 1945 and 1948. Lawrence stopped performing in 1952, and became a voice instructor and director of opera workshops.
       In an Apr 1955 article in Cosmopolitan , gossip columnist Louella O. Parsons wrote about attending a party at the home of agent Wynn Rocomora, at which Lawrence, King and actress Greer Garson were also guests. Parsons claimed that the idea for the film version of Lawrence's life was born that night, but that the project was delayed because of emergence of new technological developments, such as 3-D and CinemaScope: "The Lawrence story...had to wait until our producers found out whether the public was going to want its pictures upside down or inside out."
       Dec 1951 HR news items named Deborah Kerr, and then Lana Turner, as the star of the film, and a Jul 1952 news item reported that Garson would portray Lawrence. HR news items add Nestor Eristoff, Dick Simmons, James Drury and Ronald Green to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Although an Apr 1954 HR news item stated that Lawrence's voice had been recorded for the film, opera star Eileen Farrell provided the singing voice for Lawrence's character. According to an Oct 1954 news item in HR , Joseph Ruttenberg substituted for cinematographer Paul C. Vogel after Vogel was injured in an automobile accident. Both men are listed as directors of photography in the onscreen credits. A Jan 1953 HR news item named Wolfgang Martin as music director, but Walter Du Cloux is credited onscreen. Leopold Sachse, who portrayed himself in the film, was a longtime stage director at the Metropolitan Opera.
       According to studio publicity material contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library, the design crew used oversized props, such as a telegram and pill bottle, so that these objects would appear normal-sized on the CinemaScope screen. Interrupted Melody received the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and was nominated for Best Actress (Eleanor Parker) and Best Costume Design (Color). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   26 Mar 1955.   
Cosmopolitan   Apr 1955.   
Daily Variety   27 Jan 1955.   
Daily Variety   25 Mar 55   p. 3.
Film Daily   25 Mar 55   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Dec 1951.   
Hollywood Reporter   24 Dec 51   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Jul 52   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Jan 53   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Apr 54   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Aug 54   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Sep 54   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Sep 54   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Sep 54   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Oct 54   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Oct 54   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Oct 54   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Dec 54   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Dec 54   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Feb 55   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Apr 55   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Mar 55   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   26 Mar 55   p. 377.
New York Times   6 May 55   p. 18.
Time   9 May 1955.   
Variety   30 Mar 55   p. 8.

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