Torch Song (1953)


“Your idea of art’s the fruit in the slot machine.” – Jenny

Number of Times Seen – 1 (3 Jun 2019)

Brief Synopsis – A Broadway star causes much problems with her cast and crew due to her prim a-donna attitude but is taken aback when a blind pianist doesn’t fall into line with everyone else who fear her.

My Take on it – This is another film that I had never heard of before coming across it on a list of films that feature Oscar nominated performances.

The overall premise is actually an interesting one, but they fail to make it work well here.

Joan Crawford is required to play a role that features both dramatic and musical aspects and she is very uneven in her performance since he is always stellar in the dramatic parts yet loses something in the transition to the musical ones and feels out of her depth in them.

Her chemistry with her co-stars is terrible and even though she is meant to be quite unfriendly, it makes it much harder to care about her character and that makes the viewer want her to fail in whatever she is attempting to do.

Michael Wilding is ok as the blind pianist yet he plays his character in a very subdued way which hurts things when he is meant to try and verbally battle Crawford.

I’m not sure how Margaret Rambeau was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in her role as Crawford’s mother and probably should have been overlooked by the Academy for her performance here.

Bottom Line – Interesting idea that just doesn’t work well enough. Crawford plays the dramatic aspects of this film much better than the musical ones since she feels out of her depth in those scenes. She has little chemistry with her co-stars which helps give off her gruff personality yet makes the viewer hope that she doesn’t end up getting what she wants. Wilding is ok in the role of the pianist but his character feels too subdued especially when trying to verbally battle Crawford. Rambeau was somehow nominated for an Oscar for her relatively brief performance as Crawford’s mother and probably should have been overlooked instead.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – According to many of those who worked with her during this period, when her film career was “on the skids,” Joan Crawford’s portrayal here of a vain, self-obsessed, temperamental harridan was arguably autobiographical. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)

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2 thoughts on “Torch Song (1953)

  1. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actress – Oscars 1953 | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1953 | MovieRob

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