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Hearing loss creates professional and romantic crises for a concert pianist.
Pianist Anthony Warrin has attracted many fans by playing a combination of classical, popular and folk music. His manager, Sam Dunne, and his secretary, Marion Moore, who has secretly loved Tony for years, accompany him on his concert tours. Despite his obvious success, Tony feels he must play Carnegie Hall before he can take himself seriously as a musician and is hopeful when a Carnegie representative, J. R. Aldrich, plans to attend his concert in San Francisco. To improve his technique for the performance, Tony visits his former piano teacher, Zwolinski, but the maestro is not at home when Tony arrives. Instead, Tony finds Linda Curtis, a wealthy young woman seeking piano lessons from Zwolinski. Mistaking Tony for Zwolinski, she explains that her parents believe women of her class need proficiency in music to be "accomplished." Tony lets Linda think that he is the older musician until Zwolinski arrives. After a brief exchange of greetings with his mentor, Tony decides that his technique is "good enough" and invites Linda to dinner. At an Italian restaurant, Tony realizes that his wallet is in his other suit and, while he negotiates with the unsympathetic proprietor, Linda pays the bill. The couple then attends a nightclub, where Tony plays an impromptu performance of boogie-woogie. The next day the couple visits a museum, where the guard recognizes Tony and shows them a room filled with antique keyboard instruments formerly played by famous composers and pianists. Inspired by the history of each instrument, Tony tries out each one, and in between playing, proposes to Linda. Although he wants to marry soon, she asks for time, as they have known each other only twenty-six hours. At Tony's San Francisco concert, Linda meets Howard Ferguson, a soldier returning from China at the end of his tour of duty. At intermission, Howard shares with her his regard for Tony's talent and his own determination to return to composing. Aldrich arrives late for the concert, while Tony is taking requests from the audience for an encore. After hearing Tony, Aldrich sets a date for him to play at Carnegie in four weeks' time. However, on the night of his Carnegie performance, Tony suddenly loses his hearing and must cancel. Dr. Eubank diagnoses the problem as a rare, recurring condition that can only be resolved by a dangerous operation that will either cure him or leave him permanently deaf. After asking Eubank for time to decide whether to undergo the operation, Tony stops seeing Linda, while he "thinks things out." At Eubank's suggestion, Tony takes lessons in lipreading from Mr. Rojeck. During a self-imposed exile in his New York penthouse, Tony reads about the life of Beethoven and practices lipreading by using spyglasses to watch people in Central Park. He soon becomes interested in a child, Alvie Hunt, whose handicapped legs prevent him from playing football with other children. Questioning God's existence, Tony considers throwing himself off the balcony, but Marion stops him. After she encourages him to get out of the apartment, Tony follows Alvie and his grandfather to church, where they daily pray for Alvie's healing. On another day, when Tony sees Alvie tell his grandfather that he has lost faith in prayer, he has Marion deliver money to the Hunts for an operation for Alvie. Later, during the night, hearing the tick of his antique clocks, Tony realizes that his hearing has returned, at least temporarily, but continues to follow the activities in Central Park through his binoculars. Tony watches as Mrs. McGinley and her recently married daughter, Sarah Cosgrove, meet each week on a park bench. Sarah, who has married into a wealthy family, is ashamed of her lowly roots and has delayed introducing her husband and in-laws to her mother. When Tony sees Sarah cancel an outing with her mother for a charity event in which her in-laws are involved, he escorts Mrs. McGinley to the event after treating her to a new dress and hairstyle. Surprised to encounter her mother, Sarah introduces Mrs. McGinley to the Cosgroves. Although mother and daughter are reunited, Tony's happiness is short-lived when he again loses his hearing. Although Sam knows about the recurrence, Tony asks him not to trouble Marion with the news. Marion, knowing Linda will take care of Tony, hands in her resignation when the couple set their wedding date. On Christmas Eve, Tony and Marion exchange presents and she says goodbye. Sad that she is leaving, Tony watches her from the balcony. As her taxi drives away, Linda's car approaches and Tony sees her meet Howard on a park bench. Tony watches as Linda admits to Howard that she loves him, but plans to remain with Tony because of his illness. When she comes upstairs to his apartment, Tony tells Linda that he saw her with Howard, and believes they belong together. After she departs, a recovering Alvie and his grandpa come to visit. Tony gives Alvie a football and helmet, and Alvie presents Tony with a charm that he wore in the hospital for courage. The charm convinces Tony to undergo his own operation, which, to his relief, restores his hearing. Later, when he performs an all-classical concert at Carnegie Hall, his many friends attend, while Sam and Aldrich listen backstage. Afterward, Aldrich suggests that Tony focus on classical music, but Tony says he can never give up his "old friends." For an encore, Tony plays "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" for Mrs. McGinley, and she and Mrs. Cosgrove sing along, soon joined by the rest of the audience. Tony segues into a football victory song for Alvie, and for Linda and Howard, Tony plays, and then tap dances to, the song "Tea for Two." After taking his final bows, Tony finds Marion waiting for him and welcomes her back with a kiss.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 2 Nov 1955; Los Angeles opening: 21 Nov 1955|
|Release Date:||1955||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Color (Warnercolor)||Distributions Co:||Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (RCA Sound System)||Production Co:||International Artists, Ltd.|
|Duration(mins):||114-115 or 118||Country:||United States|
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Big Screen Liberace
Sam McBride 2013-07-18
I was a little worried when this movie first started, it seemed weakly written at first and I thought I could be in for a long night. But as the movie went...
Smaltz with a capital S;
Ron Kerrigan 2013-07-18
Charmingly (yet awful) entertaining. Some nice music (and of course it's a lot of piano playing) but Liberace was no actor, and the plot is...
Carter Joseph 2013-07-14
What a howler! Mawkish, dripping with sentiment and self-pity, and completely enjoyable. Liberace is one heckuvan entertainer. But my word, the story, the...