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Torch Song

Released Oct 23, 1953 1h 30m Drama List
Reviews 44% Audience Score 250+ Ratings A hardened Broadway comedy star (Joan Crawford) becomes attracted to a blind pianist (Michael Wilding). Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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Torch Song

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Critics Reviews

View All (2) Critics Reviews
Clyde Gilmour Maclean's Magazine It's a show-business musical, draggy in spots but generally diverting... Oct 14, 2019 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: B- Jan 23, 2013 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (34) audience reviews
Audience Member Horrible racist blackface number by Joan Crawford Rated 1 out of 5 stars 02/16/23 Full Review steve d It drags and is forgettable. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member Miss Crawford is in no-holds-barred star mode throughout, as if giving MGM itself a big theatrical middle finger throughout for her 10 year absence (see what you missed!). In this, her first Technicolor feature, it's essentially a one-woman show despite the fact that there ARE other actors in the movie -- the most notable being Michael Wilding as her clashing love interest and Harry Morgan as a frustrated producer. While Joan recorded all of the musical numbers in her own voices (which are available on a recorded soundtrack and may certainly be dug up for curiosity seekers on YouTube), her singing was dubbed by India Adams. Miss Adams also dubbed Cyd Charisse's singing in MGM's tour-de-force musical, "The Band Wagon", that same year. While we would expect Joan to do well in selling the dances as she was something of a dancer in her early career, I was pleasantly surprised at how well she did at mimicking selling the singing in her songs. She struck just the right balance of believability for what a Broadway star of that era would need do (although it might seem a tad overdone on film). For me, she evoked the facial and body mannerisms ala Judy Garland, who could sometimes seem over-the-top when she really WAS singing. The unavoidable elephant in the room is the production number "Two-Faced Woman". Joan is in full blackface...hands and long legs included, along with a tight curl dark wig,...with the entire ensemble. What I found most startling about watching this in 2020 is that this is I was not watching a Judy and Mickey number in B&W from 1940, but a Technicolor number from 1953! I honestly thought that kind of thing had died out in mainstream entertainment by that late year -- save for Amos & Andy radio throwbacks and shows only in da deep South. The fact that Crawford's Jenny Stewart character was rehearsing for a Broadway show set to open in New York set in then-current day 1953 seemed incongruous to me. But perhaps I am wrong? Anyway, everything about this picture is clearly and precisely calculated to keep your eyes and attention on Miss Crawford and her alone from the opening title through the closing credits. In that, it magnificently succeeds -- from the dialogue to her costumes to the musical numbers to well, just everything. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/23/23 Full Review Audience Member Joan Crawford is completely believable as a self-centered, arrogant bitch. Typical of ‘50s studio junk, this movie is mostly cigarette smoking and cocktails, really bad dialogue and bad melodrama. Rated 0.5 out of 5 stars 01/17/23 Full Review Lesley E The plotline to this story is very soap opera-ish (meaning this entire story could've been told in 30 minutes). The musical numbers just seem like "fillers/pitstops" in-between the melodrama and romance. Joan Crawford's performance was brilliant, but not even Joan could save this picture, and that ending seems rushed (as if they came up with it on the spot) Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/11/20 Full Review Audience Member Joan Crawford (voice-dubbed by India Adams) chews up the scenery in MGM's musical drama; Michael Wilding plays a blind pianist and director Charles Walters has a cameo as Crawford's berated dance partner. The "Two-Faced Woman" number has been recognized as the nadir of campy, offensive cinema. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Torch Song

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis A hardened Broadway comedy star (Joan Crawford) becomes attracted to a blind pianist (Michael Wilding).
Director
Charles Walters
Producer
Henry Berman, Sidney Franklin
Distributor
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Production Co
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Genre
Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Oct 23, 1953, Original
Release Date (Streaming)
Apr 1, 2012
Runtime
1h 30m
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