The Eddy Duchin Story

The Eddy Duchin Story is a 1956 Technicolor film biopic of band leader and pianist Eddy Duchin. It was directed by George Sidney, written by Samuel A. Taylor, and starred Tyrone Power and Kim Novak. Harry Stradling received an Academy Award nomination for his cinematography in the CinemaScope film. The film received four nominations in total and was one of the highest-grossing films of 1956. Incorporating signature elements of Duchin's style into his own original style, Carmen Cavallaro performed the piano music for the film.

The Eddy Duchin Story
DVD cover
Directed byGeorge Sidney
Produced byJerry Wald
Jonie Taps
Written bySamuel A. Taylor
StarringKim Novak
Tyrone Power
Victoria Shaw
James Whitmore
Shepperd Strudwick
Music byGeorge Duning
CinematographyHarry Stradling
Edited byViola Lawrence
Jack Ogilvie
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • June 21, 1956 (1956-06-21)
Running time
123 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$5.3 million (US)[1]

Some of the film's box office success can be attributed to the appearance of Novak in ads for No-Cal diet soda. Novak became one of the first celebrities to be featured in advertisements for soft drinks, and each ad also featured a reminder to see Novak in The Eddy Duchin Story.

Musician Peter Duchin, whose relationship with his father is a major subject of the film, has written very negatively about the script, saying there was too much unnecessary fictionalization of his parents' lives and deaths.


Fresh out of pharmacy school, young Eddy Duchin travels to New York in the 1920s to take a job playing piano for bandleader Leo Reisman's orchestra. But upon arrival, Eddy learns there is no such job.

A wealthy socialite, Marjorie Oelrichs, overhears his playing and takes a personal interest in Eddy. When he is invited to the home of her wealthy aunt and uncle, the Wadsworths, for a party, Eddy is disappointed to discover that he has been asked there merely to entertain.

Having fallen in love, Marjorie goes so far as to propose marriage to Eddy rather than the other way around. She has secret fears that she expresses on their wedding night, and tragedy strikes when Marjorie dies giving birth to their child.

An anguished Eddy abandons his baby boy, Peter, leaving him in the Wadsworths' care, and goes away from New York for many years. He serves on a warship in the war. Finally persuaded to visit his son, he meets Peter's governess, a British woman named Chiquita, who grows on him after an uneasy start. Peter is learning to play the piano.

Eddy has an engagement at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, but his hand freezes while at the keyboard. He eventually is diagnosed with a fatal illness and has no more than a year to live. After he marries Chiquita, he can't bring himself to tell Peter about his illness, so he simply says that soon he'll be "going away." Peter ultimately learns the truth.


Soundtrack recordings

In 1956 and 1957 respectively, two musical "soundtrack" recordings, that is, studio recordings of songs from the film, were issued. Twelve of the film's songs were released in The Sound Track Album, The Eddy Duchin Story, with Carmen Cavallaro at the piano. This recording was issued by Decca in 1956 (mono) as DL 8289 and reissued in stereo in 1965 as Decca DL 78289 (which was also issued in Mexico and Canada).[2] In 1957, Capitol Records issued an LP album entitled, Selections from The Eddy Duchin Story (Capitol T-716), featuring nine of the original album's twelve soundtracks. Accompanied by the Harry Geller Orchestra, pianists George Greeley and Harry Sukman performed the selections. Somewhat ironically, both pianists imitated (usually quite closely and rather ably) Cavallaro’s beloved interpretations of the songs rather than Duchin’s. Given the extraordinary commercial success of the original soundtrack, it is no wonder.

Other soundtrack recordings

There was a musical tribute soundtrack, played by Al Lerner, A Tribute to Eddy Duchin. Released by Tops Records in 1957, this release featured the following tunes:

(A special detail from the vinyl record of this tribute is that it is not black, but is made of yellow translucent material, with some brown figures in veneer)


The film was nominated for four Academy Awards.[3]

See also


  1. 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957
  2. The Eddy Duchin Story on Retrieved February 16, 2014
  3. "The 29th Academy Awards (1957) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-08-21.

Further reading

  • Monder, Eric (1994). George Sidney:a Bio-Bibliography. Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313284571.
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