Interrupted Melody

Interrupted Melody is a 1955 biographical musical film in CinemaScope and Technicolor, which tells the story of Australian opera singer Marjorie Lawrence's struggle with polio. The film was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Curtis Bernhardt, and produced by Jack Cummings from a screenplay by Marjorie Lawrence, Sonya Levien, and William Ludwig.

Interrupted Melody
Original French poster
Directed byCurtis Bernhardt
Produced byJack Cummings
Written byMarjorie Lawrence (autobiography)
Screenplay bySonya Levien
William Ludwig
Based onInterrupted Melody 1949 autobiography[1]
StarringEleanor Parker
Glenn Ford
Roger Moore
Cecil Kellaway
Music byAlexander Courage
Adolph Deutsch
CinematographyJoseph Ruttenberg,
Paul Vogel
Edited byJohn D. Dunning
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • March 25, 1955 (1955-03-25) (United States)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$4,028,000[2][3]

The operatic sequences were staged by Vladimir Rosing. The film stars Glenn Ford, Eleanor Parker, Roger Moore, and Cecil Kellaway. The singing voice of Lawrence was provided by Eileen Farrell; Farrell also appears on screen as a student struggling to hit a high note in a scene with the singing teacher Mme. Gilly (Ann Codee).

Plot summary

The story traces Marjorie's (Eleanor Parker) long, hard road to the top, her success on two continents, and her turbulent marriage to American doctor Thomas King (Glenn Ford). While touring South America in 1941, Lawrence is stricken with polio, which not only abruptly ends her career but briefly robs her of the will to live.[4]




In 1947 it was reported that Marjorie Lawrence was writing her memoirs, titled Interrupted Melody, and that she wanted Greer Garson to play her.[5]

The book was published in 1950. The Chicago Tribune called it "engrossing".[6]

In June 1951 MGM, which had a huge success with The Great Caruso, another biopic of an opera singer, announced it had bought the screen rights to the book. Jack Cummings was going to produce, and Kathryn Grayson was a possible star.[7] Other possible stars were Greer Garson and Deborah Kerr, who would use Lawrence's voice.[8] Lawrence flew to Hollywood in July to have discussions with Cummings and Sonya Levien who was to do the script.[9]

In December MGM announced Lana Turner would play the lead with filming to begin in February.[10]

However filming did not proceed. In July 1952 MGM said Garson would be playing the lead and William Ludwig was working on the script.[11] By February 1953 the studio had postponed production again.[12]

In December 1953 the film was put back on MGM's schedule with Garson still attached.[13] However by April 1954 Eleanor Parker was the star because Garson had left MGM.[14]

Glenn Ford would only appear in the film if he got top billing. Parker says: "I wanted to do what was right for the picture, so I said: 'Let him have the top billing.' Glenn was a kind of a difficult man, but he was right for the picture and a very fine actor."[15]

A key support role was given to Roger Moore who had just made The Last Time I Saw Paris for MGM and been put under contract to the studio.[16]


Filming started in September 1954. According to Eleanor Parker, the filmmakers could not use Marjorie Lawrence's voice because she had lost her upper register. The singing was done by Eileen Farrell, who plays a small part in the film.[15]

Filming finished by November 1954.[17] The film was previewed in January 1955.[18]


Box Office

According to MGM records, the film made $1,801,000 in the US and Canada, and $2,227,000 overseas, resulting in a profit of $101,000.[2]


It won the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay, and was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Eleanor Parker) and Best Costume Design, Color for Helen Rose.

Musical tracks

Parker could read music and had a firm soprano voice with perfect pitch. She prepared for the singing aspect of her role by listening to the numbers for weeks, and she sang them during the filming in full voice instead of lip-synching.[19] Walter Ducloux conducted the MGM Studio Symphony Orchestra. MGM published a selection of eleven numbers on an original motion picture soundtrack album.

See also


  1. Griffin, Helga M. Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 19 January 2017 via Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  2. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  3. Domestic take see also "The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955", Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956.
  4. "Interrupted Melody (1955) - Curtis Bernhardt - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related - AllMovie". Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  5. ON THE AISLE: Lawrence Calls Her Story 'Interrupted Melody' And Garson Wants To Do It On The Screen Cassidy, Claudia. Chicago Daily Tribune 17 Dec 1947: 39.
  6. Diva's Story of Fight for Fame and Life Barry, Edward. Chicago Daily Tribune29 Jan 1950: I11.
  7. FILM GUILD MOVES AGAINST FOX CUTS: Screen Writers Are Urged Not to Comply With Proposal for Salary Reductions By THOMAS F. BRADY New York Times 6 June 1951: 37.
  8. Drama: Garson Likely to Act Lawrence Role; Bettger, Lockhart Villainous Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]19 June 1951: B7.
  9. Barrie Play at Paramount New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]20 July 1951: 13.
  10. LANA TURNER GETS OPERA SINGER ROLE: Star Will Portray Marjorie Lawrence, Victor Over Polio, in 'Interrupted Melody' Bob Hope Film to Start Of Local Origin By THOMAS M. PRYOR New York Times 24 Dec 1951: 9.
  11. Drama: Garson in 'Interrupted Melody;' Bacon-Bergman and Bjork Deals on Fire Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]11 July 1952: B9.
  12. KNOPF TO PRODUCE STORY BY ERSKINE: Unpublished 'Diane de Poitiers' Will Be Filmed Independently -- Garson Eyed for Lead By THOMAS M. PRYOR New York Times 16 Feb 1953: 16.
  13. Drama: Ursula Thiess New Star of 'Americano;' Disney Sets Verne Launching Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]26 Dec 1953: A7.
  14. METRO FILLS LEAD IN FILM OF SINGER: Eleanor Parker Will Portray Marjorie Lawrence in 'Interrupted Melody' By THOMAS M. PRYOR. New York Times 7 Apr 1954: 42.
  15. "Eleanor Parker: Incognito, but Invincible" (PDF). Noir City Sentinel. Summer 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-10-19.
  16. La Jolla Film Festival Plans Expand; Brynner Cited as 'Matador' Star Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 19 June 1954: 13.
  17. Eleanor Parker Will Be Wed Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times 16 Nov 1954: A2.
  18. Eleanor Parker Plays Convincing Diva Role: Lawrence Life Story Applauded Scott, John L. Los Angeles Times 13 Feb 1955: D3.
  19. "Eleanor Parker: More Than Just the Sound of Music Baroness" by Richard Corliss, Time, December 20, 2013
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