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Composers in the MoviesStudies in Musical Biography$
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John C. Tibbetts

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106749

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106749.001.0001

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A Song Remembered

A Song Remembered

Frédéric Chopin Goes to War

(p.81) 2 A Song Remembered
Composers in the Movies

John C. Tibbetts

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses A Song to Remember, a “life” of the celebrated Polish composer Frederic Chopin that was released in the waning months of World War II. Despite its highbrow profile, it became a box office hit through its entertaining blend of fact and fiction, its patriotic message to contemporary wartime audiences, and its bewitching exploitation of Chopin's music. The Hollywood Reporter greeted A Song to Remember as a welcome addition to the recently imported European screen biographies of Beethoven, Schubert, and Handel. Other critics were equally enthusiastic. The film's casual concern for historical and biographical accuracy, however, outraged other commentators. Particularly notorious was a wholly fabricated penultimate sequence wherein the disease-ravaged Chopin embarks on a suicidal concert tour to aid Polish freedom fighters.

Keywords:   highbrow profile, Polish composer, Frederic Chopin, box office hit, patriotic message, contemporary wartime audiences

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