Glamorous socialite Helen Wright (Joan Crawford) takes what she wants clothes, alcohol, men uses them up and tosses them aside. Then she meets brilliant young violinist Paul Boray (John Garfield). But this is one toy she c... more »an?t break. Instead, her love for Paul brings Helen to the breaking point. In this acclaimed and profound exploration of desire, Crawford makes Helen a rich, layered character torn between selfless love and selfish impulses. Garfield matches her as the driven genius. Humoresque?s production values extend to the musical interludes, dubbed by Isaac Stern. Garfield?s dazzling technique is thanks to two real violinists hidden behind him one to do the fingering and one the bow work. Bravo! DVD Features:Featurette:The Music of Humoresque - RT: 9:42Theatrical Trailer:« less
"This is a superb melodrama about a young man, Paul Boray, from the wrong side of the tracks, who plays a mean violin, and the unhappily married society matron, Helen Wright, who becomes his patron and then his lover. John Garfield is well cast as Paul Boray, the ambitious violinist. Joan Crawford does a star turn as the glamorous and beautiful patron of the arts, who underwrites Boray's big break and ends up falling passionately in love with him. Theirs is a turbulent relationship. He is singularly devoted to his music, and she is an alcoholic, plagued by self-doubt. They are star crossed lovers whose romance is destined to end tragically.The film has a magnificent musical score courtesy of violinist virtuoso Isaac Stern. Pianist Oscar Levant is a double threat in this movie, as he, too, does a star turn as Boray's best friend, acting as a comedic foil. He also dazzles on the ivories, playing away so that the viewer wonders why he, too, does not have some society dame underwriting a show for him, such is his talent. All in all, a well cast and well acted film. Fans of Joan Crawford and all those with an appreciation of classical music will especially enjoy this well made film."
"You're a hangman's noose to me."
Dave | Tennessee United States | 10/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Paul Boray (John Garfield) grew up in the slums of New York with one dream in his mind: to play the violin. His mother buys him a violin for a birthday present and from then on Paul practices constantly. As he grows older he becomes a highly-skilled violinist, but with no wealthy friends his great potential has no where to go. Until he meets the wealthy and unhappily married socialite Helen Wright (Joan Crawford), who is instantly drawn to Paul after hearing him play. Helen is used to getting everything she wants in life, and Paul's fiercely independent attitude upsets her.
Despite a rocky start they soon agree on one thing: with the right friends Paul could become one of the most famous violinists of all time. So Helen introduces Paul to her wealthy friends and in no time at all Paul is booked with numerous concerts. But Paul is much more than a smart investment to Helen, and the more they see of each other the less they can deny their passionate feelings for each other. Paul's family disaproves of their relationship, but Paul won't listen to anyone try to stop him from seeing Helen.
Forgetting the fact that a charming young woman (Joan Chandler) is already in love with him, and that Helen is married, he begins a dangerous affair with her, not realizing the consequences it could have in regards to his career. His best friend (Oscar Levant) also shares a love for music, but can do little to convince Paul that the affair is destined to fail. Paul's career as a violinist is so busy that he doesn't always have time to spend with Helen, and she begins to resent this more and more.
When Helen's husband grants her a divorce, she rushes to Paul to tell him the good news, only to realize that Paul's first love is and always has been music. Even after all the arguing and fighting Helen and Paul have gone through, they're still deeply in love with each other. After being told off by Paul's protective mother though, she decides that she isn't willing to come between Paul and his beloved music. Paul is then left to pick up the pieces of his shattered life and try to move on with his career.
Humoresque starred two of the greatest stars of the 1940's, John Garfield and Joan Crawford, in one of the most unforgettable screen romances of all time. Garfield was of course famous for playing tough guys, and to see him play a sensitive violinist (with a dark side of course) so convincingly proved just how great of an actor he was. Crawford was likewise fantastic playing another "bad girl" without morals. As for Oscar Levant, I think he deserved a best supporting actor oscar for his wonderful performance. He was really a scene stealer and his sharp wit combined with his great talent as a piano player made him a huge asset to the film.
And of course there's the beautiful music of Humoresque which is practically a character in the movie. Rarely have I heard so many masterpieces of classical music in one movie. John Garfield's violin playing was actually done by Isaac Stern, but the incredible contortionist style method they used was so convincing that when Garfield toured the country on publicity tours for this movie he was frequently asked to play the violin! They explain the technique they used to make his violin playing scenes convincing in the brief featurette "The Music of Humoresque." Although the original soundtrack is unavailable, there is an awesome CD by Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg titled Humoresque which features a modern version of the film's soundtrack. If you love classic romances with great actors then add this dvd to your collection!"
FILM'S AND JOAN CRAWFORD'S FINEST MOMENT
CHUCK WEST | 11/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first watched "Humoresque" on December 10, 1990. The date was etched in my brain because I have NEVER been so overwhelmed by pure genius in my life before or since. I have given this movie as a present to all my friends (birthdays, holidays, etc.). I have watched this film as my birthday present TO MYSELF. Everyone who sees this film agrees---BRILLIANT. Joan Crawford and John Garfield play the ultimate codependant couple, long before modern pop-psychology popularized and distorted the term "codependancy." Joan Crawford had won her Academy Award for 1945's "Mildred Pierce" in 1946, during the filming of "Humoresque," and it shows. Joan Crawford was never more confident, brooding, steaming, sensual, intelligent or intense on film than in "Humoresque." Everything was perfect for this, the ultimate film noir----black and white cinematography, art direction, set decoration, costume design (legendary MGM costume/fashion designer Adrian came out of retirement just to do Joan Crawford's gowns), make-up, script, cast, and of course, Joan Crawford's acting and perfectly architectured face. Every scene and every line are executed perfectly. Post-"Mommie Dearest" film fans should watch this and other Joan Crawford films to get a clearer assessment and appreciation for her work, if not for the human being herself. Oscar Levant is hilarious as John Garfield's piano-playing best friend, Sid. Virtuoso violinist Isaac Stern played violin on the soundtrack (WHICH HOPEFULLY SOME RECORD COMPANY WILL RELEASE ON CD SOMEDAY), and physically played onscreen in John Garfield's closeups by placing his arm up Garfield's sleeve. The final sequence with Joan Crawford's suicidal heroine walking into the sea to the strains of Garfield's radio performance of Wagner's "Liebstod" on violin (accompanied by full orchestra) is as cathartic as catharsis will ever be on film. This sequence was recently acknowledged when the director of Madonna's video, "The Power Of Goodbye," borrowed upon it as the basis for the storyline of the video, with a different choice at the end. It just shows how far we have come as a society in the ability to examine self-esteem issues, such as codependancy. If you only buy one video in your life, buy this one. Watch it again and again and again....you will not regret it. I promise."
Nothing Good Can Come Of This Relationship
Peter Kenney | Birmingham, Alabama, USA | 08/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In HUMORESQUE we see a dedicated young musician (John Garfield) meet a wealthy possessive woman (Joan Crawford) who takes an obsessive interest in him and his career as a violinist. We know that nothing good can come of this relationship and we are surely looking at a tragedy in the making. In spite of all the warning signs we feel compelled to watch this movie to the end.The acting of both Garfield and Crawford is superb. The role of Helen Wright seems to be the perfect vehicle for Crawford. Oscar Levant excells as a pianist and Garfield's friend. The rest of the strong supporting cast includes J. Carrol Naish, Joan Chandler and Tom D'Andrea. Garfield's violin is played by Isaac Stern.HUMORESQUE received an Oscar nomination in 1946 for Best Scoring of a Dramatic Picture. Jean Negulosco directed many other fine movies during his career including JOHNNY BELINDA, ROAD HOUSE and THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN."
Joan Crawford's finest film and performance.
Joan Crawford | Lansing, MI USA | 01/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not only was Joan Crawford at the height of her beauty and glamour when she made Humoresque - she was also at the height of her acting ability, having just won the Oscar for Mildred Pierce. It would be unfair to say Humoresque is a better film than Mildred Pierce, considering how different the two films are. Mildred Pierce was gritty and dark and strived for harsh realism. Humoresque is romantic and tragic - beautifully written, acted, and filmed. There are moments in movies that linger in your mind a long time after viewing.. The finale of Humoresque is one of those moments. I'm certain I will never forget Joan Crawford's melancholy walk along the sea shore in the moonlight. It is one of the most artistic scenes ever captured on film...and all the emotion Joan goes through is genuine and deep. It is definitely a glimpse through to the heart of Joan Crawford, vulnerable and beautiful, defiant and strong. For in real life, Joan Crawford was never loved. And her character in Humoresque was, as Joan described, "a woman with too much time on her hands and too much love in her heart." Perhaps that was the real Joan Crawford, a woman clinging to her career and the fans that loved her, when nobody else did. People have long criticized Joan Crawford, but who would you be if nobody loved you?"