Movie Mirrors Index

Interrupted Melody

(1955 c 106')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Based on her autobiography, Marjorie Lawrence becomes a successful opera star, marries a doctor, and then struggles to overcome the effects of polio.

         In Australia people help Marjorie Lawrence (Eleanor Parker) ride off to catch a train. Margie changes her dress and enters an operatic vocal competition. She returns to Winchelsea and rides back to the farm. Her father Bill Lawrence (Cecil Kellaway) got the  newspaper and says they will help her in her singing career. She travels to find a voice teacher and sings outside her window to get an audition. She takes lessons from Madame Gilly (Ann Codee) and gets a cable that her father died. She says she will go home, but Gilly prepares her to try out for the role of Musetta with an opera company.

         Margie performs the role on stage. She calls home from Monte Carlo and says she has become a prima donna. She tells her brother Cyril Lawrence (Roger Moore) that she will send for him. Dr. Thomas King (Glenn Ford) offers to help her celebrate, and they go to a party. They toast his country, America. Tom says he is going to practice in New York. He says goodbye, and she kisses him. He takes her to her hotel and kisses her. She offers to see him off at the boat.

         Cyril arrives and watches Margie perform from the wings. She introduces him as her manager. Margie sings Madame Butterfly. Cyril introduces her to Count Claude des Vignaux (Stephen Bekassy), and they go out. Margie sings Carmen, and Cyril has her meet M. Bernard of the Paris Opera. She sings in Samson and Delilah.

         In New York at rehearsal Margie argues with Leopold Sachse (himself), who insists she do it their way by walking the horse; but while performing in Gotterdammerung she rides the horse. Backstage she sees Tom. At the party Cyril reads aloud a good review. Tom comes in, and she introduces him. She tells him that she wants him to examine her throat. He says she is healthy, and she invites him for a drink. He assumes she is going to marry the count. She laughs and agrees to go out with him. Cyril waits up for her and mentions her career obligations.

         Margie is practicing at home and tells Cyril to tell Claude she is not in. Cyril advises her against marrying Tom. While Tom is eating lunch, she comes into his office to see him. He says he cannot ask her to marry him because he is just getting started in his practice. He says he wants a wife to take care of his children at home, but she is often traveling. He asks for a date that night, but she says she is leaving for Chicago. That night he finds her in his car, and she says she cancelled her concert tour. She wants to be Mrs. King and just sing at the metropolitan.

         Margie and Tom are in robes, and he gets a call from a patient. She asks when pregnancy begins showing. He says he is not sorry he married her. Marge and Cyril learn that she has to go on tour in Latin America to prepare for her role in Tristan e Isolde. Tom says she will have to go on tour to keep her job at the Met. She says it will be five months and invites him to go with him. He says he would lose his practice. He does not want to be Mrs. Marjorie Lawrence. They disagree, and he walks out.

         During a rehearsal Cyril brings Margie a pill to take. Her voice strains, and she collapses. On the phone Tom says he cannot leave then. He talks with Dr. Ortega and says he will fly there. In his office Dr. Ortega tells Tom that Margie has polio. Tom visits her in the hospital, and she asks him how sick is she. He says she will be all right.

         Tom meets with Dr. Richards and says she has regained use of her arms, but she has lost hope. Dr. Richards recommends exercise, massage, and a warm climate. Tom joins Margie at the beach in Florida, and she says she wants to go home. He carries her into the water, but she puts her head down in the water. Tom brings home some fish he caught and shows them to Clara (Evelyn Ellis). Margie says the light hurts. She refuses to go to the beach. When he moves her leg, she says it hurts. He begs her to try. She says her legs are worse and asks him to help her to die. He puts on an opera record, and she tells him to turn it off. He tells her to do it. She falls on the floor and crawls by using her arms, pushing the table over. Tom says she did it.

         Tom sews a button in the kitchen as Margie plays piano and sings “Annie Laurie.” Margie in her wheelchair says she will be singing in concerts soon. She is to perform with the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, but she does not go on stage in her wheelchair. The next day Tom says he did not take the advance back so that she can perform later. She tells Tom to go to church, and she stays home. Jim Owens delivers a package. She sees a check and note from Dr. Bruce, who sold Tom’s equipment because he cannot leave her alone. Jim gives Tom a ride and says Margie was upset by the package. Tom insists he take him home. He finds she has a handful of pills, and she says she can’t go on anymore. She says she wanted to set him free and complains he spoiled it. Tom asks God to help them. At night she tells him to go back to his practice. He says he is studying for the Florida exam. She realizes that he wants her the way she is.

         Margie reads a letter from Tom and tells Clara about it. Dr. Eddie Ryson (Peter Leeds) in uniform comes in to see Tom, and Margie says he is in New York. Eddie asks her to sing for the boys. She sings “Over the Rainbow” for wounded men in a hospital. Tom gets a call from Margie, who says she is going overseas to sing. She sings to the Navy, Marines, and the Army “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree.” With Australian troops she sings “Waltzing Matilda.”

         Eddie tells Tom that they both can hear Margie that night. Cyril comes in and says he flew back from Europe. He thanks Tom for putting her back on her feet. Tom says she has to use braces. Cyril asks if they can risk failure. Tom asks him to come back stage because he is scared. Tom wheels Margie on stage and puts her in a chair. The curtain opens, and she sings Isolde. During the performance she stands up. Tom is proud of her, and the audience applauds.

         This musical biopic tells the inspirational story of the opera singer in its own way. Marjorie Lawrence wanted to do the singing and criticized the film for being inaccurate. She was famous as Salomé in the dance of the seven veils. Tom was an osteopath and a Christian Scientist. She used Sister Kenny’s method of muscle stimulation. Yet the story comes across and shows the difficulties she had to overcome in her marriage and career.

Copyright © 2009 by Sanderson Beck

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