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Song of Love [DVD] [1947] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Robert Walker , Leo G. Carroll    DVD

Price: 10.02
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT movie 28 Dec 1999
By Pat - Published on Amazon.com
Song of Love is poignant and tender with excellent acting and story. Katharine Hepburn makes the character Clara Schumann believable (as with all Hepburn's roles). The story is true to life and is funny and touching at the same time. This not an action movie, however, but it is a great love story. My being a musician, the music was great, but maybe I'm a little partial to Schumann, Liszt, and Brahms. This movie sticks to the facts of Clara Schumann's life. It introduced me to two fantastic women, Katharine Hepburn and Clara Schumann. It remains one of my all-time favorites (I have seen it five times). If you're going to buy Song of Love, go for it.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional. Makes you a fan of classical music. 8 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I first saw this movie on TNT in 1994. I have been searching for the title for years. This movie is an emotional, moving story of madness, and undying love between Schumann, Clara, his wife ,and Brahms. It is what first turned me on to classical music.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hepburn stars in Hollywood musical bio-pic 5 Oct 2000
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
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Ironically, in the film where Katharine Hepburn plays a subservient wife her character, Clara Wieck Schumann, is one of the most talented women she ever played in her career. Clara was a brilliant pianist, performing the works of Franz Liszt (Henry Daniell), but goes her father's objections to marry the struggling composer Robert Schumann (Paul Henreid). Clara retires and raises seven children, totally dedicated to her family. However, Schumann is unable to deal with his lack of success. After her husband breaks down during a concert performing the Cantata from his version of "Faust," Clara has him committed to an asylum. After his death, she returns to the concert stage to share her husband's music with the world.

There is also a strong soap opera element in that young Johannus Brahms (Robert Walker) comes to live with the Schumanns, falls in love with Clara, and even proposed to her after Robert dies. Without spending a lot of time reading about the lives of the Great Composers, it is my understanding that this particular romantic plot twist did not really happen. But then you know how Hollywood feels about being historically accurate.

"Song of Love" opens with Clara playing the dazzling finale from Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 2. The actual piano playing for the film was performed by Artur Rubinstein. Hepburn worked daily with one of his pupils, pianist Laura Dubman, on fundamentals and techniques down to the distinctive hand posture for playing the piano used during that period. This Meryl Streep like devotion to the details paid off brilliantly and the illusion that Hepburn is actually playing is quite impressive.

Even if she were not played by Katharine Hepburn, I end up feeling it is rather difficult to really accept Clara throwing away her career for the man she loves. Her love of music is as deep as Schumann's and she clearly has the respect of the musical community, with the notable exception of her stern taskmaster father (Leo G. Carroll). Even a subdued Hepburn seems to be more than a match for the men in this movie, although as portrayed in the film Schumann and Brahms are a pretty clueless pair. The audience ends up identifying with Liszt, who you get the feeling always knows how talented the lesser beings really are in this story.

In one of those delightful Hollywood twists of fate, Robert Walker, who played Hepburn's son in her previous film "Sea of Grass," plays young Brahms. Based on the play by Bernard Schubert and Mario Silva, the film had four scenarists, which perhaps explains the unevenness of the script. Director Clarence Brown does a fine job, but this is one of those sanitized biographies that Hollywood loved to produced in those days, where you only get a taste of the emotion turmoil of Clara Wieck Schumann's life. Note: There is a photogrraph of Hepburn as Clara available around here.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Portrait of a Musical Era 8 July 2004
By Jack Rice - Published on Amazon.com
I must differ with a previous reviewer ---
"Even a subdued Hepburn seems to be more than a match for the men in this movie, although as portrayed in the film Schumann and Brahms are a pretty clueless pair."
I don't quite get that statement. "More than a match"? Schumann and Brahms are clueless about what? They all seem to have a wonderful time together.
"The audience ends up identifying with Liszt, who you get the feeling always knows how talented the lesser beings really are in this story."
That's a pretty pompous thing to say. Brahms and Schumann are the "lesser beings" to Liszt? That's like saying Beethoven was a lesser being to Mozart. What he may be responding to is Liszt as played by Henry Danielle, who is always masterful, whether playing his usual heel or, as here, a good guy.
He also refers to Song of Love as being "sanitized." That implies that there was something in the true story to be sanitized. I didn't think there was. I always thought of the Schumanns like the Brownings: love conquers paternal tyranny.
And as did the Brownings, so did the Schumanns help define an age - the Romantic Age. This is the era when artists were supposed to suffer for art or love. Schubert and Shelley were the icons. "Live for your art and die young!" If you weren't an artist, just plug in "love," like Rudolf at Mayerling. If one is aware of this context, then the film's melodrama becomes easier to accept.
Another issue I have with the other reviewer is his dismissal of how Hollywood treats history. I think if one did more research and less opinionating, they would find that the Hollywood of the studio system is conscientious about historical accuracy, unless one wishes to quibble. The major studios took pride in their products, and audiences of the time, unlike the dumbed-down ones of today, demanded and usually got an accurate rendering of history. Dramatic license is another matter, which one might debate, but one can make that debate for all scripts, whether for stage or screen.
One thing I agree about. Henry Danielle is always a treat to see, in particular when he plays sympathetically, against type, as he does here.
Finally, I believe Paul Henried has been unfairly neglected in the comments. Henried plays Schumann's torment perfectly. He is pitiable, yet possessed of a dignity and strength. Clarence Brown has chosen to have Schumann's progressive dementia caused by a kind of hideously loud tinnitus. I have tinnitus, and I can attest, that were it at the level depicted in the film, I'd have gone bonkers, too!
Schumann was very aware of his condition, and much of his music is a commentary on his descent into and occasional remission from madness. This plight, of being both victim and observer, is particularly poignant. Even more poignant is Clara and Brahms and Liszt, as well as Robert, helplessly watching the process, especially given their unsordid devotion to each other and to making beautiful music.
I see no bathos here, only a well-rendered, classic love story. I think if one has a problem with that, then one has a problem with the genre.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clara Wieck Hepburn 27 May 2009
By Annie Van Auken - Published on Amazon.com
SONG OF LOVE is directed by Clarence Brown and partly scripted by Ivan Tors (creator of TV shows SEA HUNT and FLIPPER). It's a romanticized biopic of Clara and Robert Schumann. (Brahms and Liszt also figure in the story.)

This one's a hanky-dampener's delight.
In 1840. pianist Clara Wieck (Hepburn) gives up a successful concert career to be housefraü to new husband, composer Robert Schumann (Henreid). The years bless them with seven children, but sadly Robert is victim of a progressive mental illness (no mention here that it may have been caused by mercury used to treat his VD). He ends up in an asylum after a suicide attempt and dies there, leaving a widow in deep financial straits.

Clara rejects the romantic overtures of young Johannes Brahms, who'd fancied her since he unexpectedly showed up on the Schummans' doorstep some years earlier. The widow Schumann determines to return to performing, and becomes a zealous advocate of her dear departed's work.

Kate Hepburn does remarkably well mimicking a concert pianist (performances are by Artur Rubenstein). Kudos to Henry Daniell for his portrayal of Franz Liszt. "Song of Love" is a period melodrama filled with glorious music and interesting people.

Related item:
The earlier COLUMBIA bio, A SONG TO REMEMBER (1945) explores the life and career of another Romantic-era composer, Frédéric Chopin.

Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 viewer poll rating found at a film resource website.

(6.6) Song of Love (1947) - Katharine Hepburn/Paul Henreid/Robert Walker/Henry Daniell/Leo G.Carroll/George Chakiris
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