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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Night Song (1947)

A wealthy San Francisco heiress (Merle Oberon) becomes interested in a blind musician (Dana Andrews) but his bitterness about his blindness puts up a wall between them. So she feigns blindness in order to break through his facade. Films about composers seemed to be all the rage in the 1940s (THE CONSTANT NYMPH, A SONG TO REMEMBER, RHAPSODY IN BLUE etc.) and this one has a mawkish romance at its soft core. The most interesting aspect of the film is that when the hero regains his sight, he develops a rather shameful attitude toward the "blind" Oberon as if he were ashamed. A better script would have focused more on this unusual angle, that of a once blind man who once he can see desires to divorce himself from his past "blind" life even if it means cutting off the girl he's was in love with. Instead, the film seems to dance around it before coming to its insipid happy ending. Oberon was always a rather affected actress and without the proper setting (like WUTHERING HEIGHTS), her acting comes across as remote as it does here. Directed by John Cromwell (THE ENCHANTED COTTAGE). With Ethel Barrymore, Hoagy Carmichael, Arthur Rubenstein, Eugene Ormandy, Jacqueline White and Donald Curtis.

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