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Humoresque

Joan Crawford , John Garfield , Jean Negulesco    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 24.95
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The greatness of John Garfield was that he was a tough guy who wasn't afraid to wear his sensitivity on his sleeve. What makes this such a great film is that director Jean Negulesco and his two writers (including Clifford Oddets) construct a complex web of ambiguity around Garfield's own torment. He's a violin virtuoso from the slums of New York who rises to the top with the assistance of socialite Joan Crawford (who was never better). There's a sexual intensity to his art that she wants to possess, and there's a vulnerability behind her lacerating façade that he wants to expose. They play each other like a couple of virtuosos, stripping each other's spirit away. What helps transcend this depression-era class struggle is its cool sophistication. It's a sublime noir about loneliness. Everyone knows his dream has hit a dead end, except Garfield. He refuses to give up, even after his soul is long gone. --Bill Desowitz

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Playing second fiddle to Beethoven's ghost June 1 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
That sentiment sums up the frustration and disappointment of Helen Wright [Joan Crawford] about her love for and obsession with violin virtuoso Paul Boray [John Garfield] in an excellent film blessed with great acting and beautiful music. Mrs. Wright becomes Boray's patron and gives his career a financial boost but becomes hopelessly drawn to her protege as his concert career takes off. The two principals circle each other warily, sizing up the other and lashing out verbally with accusations of ingratitude and selfishness with Boray holding fast to his dedication to his music while Mrs. Wright begins a slow but steady decline into drinking and depression. Boray's tunnel vision concerning his instrument does not allow him to appreciate the love Gina [Joan Chandler] has for him, nor can he grasp his mother's sage counsel and warning about his involvement with a married woman. The film has generous servings of music by Sarasate, Dvorak, Lalo and a brief but excellent recital of Franz Waxman's adaptation of "Carmen".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Good Can Come Of This Relationship Aug. 4 2003
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Crawford & Garfield in top form! July 21 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Terrific movie and Joan's worthy follow up to "Mildred Pierce." Everything's terrific about this one, so curl up on the sofa and settle in for a first class melodrama.
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