John Garfield fingers his violin a little too much for Joan Crawford’s liking.
Has there ever been another movie in which the top-billed star doesn’t appear until 33 minutes in? Also, Mommie Dearest throws not one but two (2!) glasses of booze against the wall! Also, this, along with My Man Godfrey, is one of the best I’ve seen since this whole movies-on-the-bus-thing began.
The Random Remake
Paula Boray (Mia Wasikowska) is a young violinist virtuoso prospect looking to get into a fine arts school to further her talents, despite her working-class family urging her to attend college for a “serious” degree. She hooks up with jaded cellist Sidney (Jenna Malone) via an online ad. They play in subway stations, parks, some small gigs, and Sidney quickly realizes that Paula is the real deal. Sid arranges for a dinner party gig at the home of Henry (Rupert Graves) and Victoria (Rosamund Pike) Wright. The Wrights are wealthy patrons of the arts, and Henry takes a particular interest in Paula.
Henry’s advocacy for Paula ignites her career. She gets into the school of her choice and she is soon playing concerts with top orchestras, her family beaming with pride. But her personal life is also rapidly changing. She is growing close to Henry, with whom she shares a fondness for the romantic orchestration known as the humoresque. He represents the world she wants while she represents the life he once had. Seeing their attraction, Victoria leaves and tells Henry he can have a divorce if he likes. Henry is conflicted but tells Paula about the news and, to his relative surprise, she is not as elated as he thought she’d be. She’s getting super-serious about her music, and that takes up most of her time; Henry is taking a back seat. Additionally, Paula’s family isn’t too keen on their relationship, either, telling Paula that Henry is taking advantage of her and that she should live her life free of an older predator.
After a long reunion dinner with Victoria, Henry is late for a new concert performance from Paula. Paula is scornful of Henry, and berates him for not realizing how important her work is to her. Walking along a beach near the restaurant, Henry realizes Paula has grown away from him and he also knows he has pushed Victoria too far away for reconciliation. Alone, Henry drives back into the city toward the opera house where Paula is playing, but he continues past the building and drives off into the night.
Humoresque: A classical tale of love and romance
Next up: This Gun for Hire (1942)