Yet another musical biography that dispenses with the facts to make dramatic points, SONG WITHOUT END began shooting under the direction of Charles Vidor, but when he became ill (and eventually died), George Cukor took the helm, resulting in a shift in style that is noticeable in some
scenes. Dirk Bogarde portrays Hungarian composer Franz Lizst, who leaves his mistress, Countess Marie (Genevieve Page), to go on a concert tour to reaffirm his reputation as the mid-19th century's greatest pianist. In the process he meets Carolyne (Capucine), a Russian princess who realizes
Lizst's prodigious talents would be better employed composing and who falls in love with the notorious womanizer even though she is already married. Encouraged by Princess Carolyne, Lizst shifts his efforts from performing and promoting the career of the unappreciative Richard Wagner (Lyndon
Brook) to composing. When Carolyne's husband refuses to grant her a divorce, she requests an annulment from both the czar and the pope, claiming that she was forced into her first marriage. Although she is finally granted that annulment, it is later revoked, and because the pious Carolyne won't
live with Liszt out of wedlock, he enters the Church as his mother had long hoped he would.
Although SONG WITHOUT END plays fast and loose with the reality of Liszt's life, it is nevertheless an entertaining film, boasting a fine performance by Bogarde, whose piano playing was dubbed by Jorge Bolet. The music was played by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the score earned an
Academy Award for Harry Sukman's adaptation and Morris Stoloff's musical direction. Music from several composers includes "Mephisto Waltz," "Spozalizio," "Sonata in B Minor," "Un Sospiro," "Fantasy on Themes from "Rigoletto,"' "Consolation in D Flat," "Liebestraum," "Les Preludes," "Hungarian
Fantasy," "Venezia e Napoli," "Valse Oubliee" (Liszt), "Pilgrim's Chorus" from "Tannhauser" (Wagner), "Rondo Capriccioso" (Mendelssohn), "Largo" (Handel), "La Campanella" (Paganini), "Pathetique Sonata" (Beethoven), "Passacaglia in C Minor" (Bach).
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Yet another musical biography that dispenses with the facts to make dramatic points, SONG WITHOUT END began shooting under the direction of Charles Vidor, but when he became ill (and eventually died), George Cukor took the helm, resulting in a shift in sty… (more)