Torch Song

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Drama/Romance, USA, 1953, 90 min.

Tagline Tough Baby - a wonderful love story with the star of "Sudden Fear" and for the FIRST TIME you'll see her in TECHNICOLOR!

Synopsis At a rehearsal for her new show, temperamental Broadway star Jenny Stewart lashes out at anyone who displeases her, from her dance partner to her arranger, Charlie Maylor, who has been driven to drink by her bullying. After abruptly walking out of the rehearsal, Jenny goes home and practices a scene with her sympathetic secretary, Anne, then gets into bed and tearfully gives in to feelings of loneliness. The following day, Jenny's boyfriend, playboy Cliff Willard, comes by as she is redesigning her costumes for the show, and she insists that her love for her audience justifies her domineering ways. When Jenny eventually shows up for rehearsal, she is surprised to discover that Charlie has quit and has been replaced by the distinguished Tye Graham, a blind pianist. Tye proves more than adept at accompanying Jenny and accommodating her changes, although she rudely disregards his suggestions. After Tye tries to change the tempo on one of her songs, Jenny orders director Joe Denner to fire him. When everyone has left the theater, however, Jenny secretly tries the song Tye's way. Jenny then goes to a restaurant, where she encounters Tye. The pianist buys her lunch and suggests that she uses her tough demeanor to conceal her fear of being vulnerable. After lunch, Tye returns to his elegant apartment and tells his house man, Peter, that he paid for his friend Charlie to travel to Cuba so that he could get his job. That evening, Jenny goes to Tye's apartment, where he is rehearsing with his jazz quintet, and insists that he come back to work for her. After Jenny leaves, Tye admits to fellow musician Martha, who is in love with him, that despite her fine qualities he will never be able to "see" her as he does Jenny. Tye returns to rehearsals, and Jenny comes to value his opinion. One Sunday morning, as the bored Jenny mopes around her apartment, she tries unsuccessfully to perform simple tasks with her eyes closed, and is struck by the grace and dignity with which Tye lives. In a rush of feeling, she goes to visit her mother, but Mrs. Stewart just nags her for money. Jenny decides to throw a party that night, and instructs her agent, Monty Rolfe, to round up guests and arrange for Tye to entertain. Tye is unavailable, however, which puts Jenny in a sour mood, and she abruptly sends her guests home. Later, after the final dress rehearsal, Jenny is enraged to learn that Tye will not be accompanying the cast to Philadelphia for out-of-town tryouts. She summons Tye to her home later that evening, and he tells Jenny that he used to be a drama and music critic before losing his sight in the war. When he still refuses to go to Philadelphia, they quarrel, and Tye warns Jenny that she is on the road to a terrible decline and lonely end. Jenny goes to see her mother and reluctantly admits her frustration over Tye. Mrs. Stewart produces the scrapbooks she has filled with newspaper clippings about Jenny's career, and Jenny finds a review written by Tye the evening before he went into the service. At her mother's request, Jenny puts on a recording she once made of the song "Tenderly," which Tye had seen her perform. Jenny then goes to Tye's apartment and slips in unnoticed as he is playing "Tenderly" for Martha. After sending Martha away, Jenny surprises Tye with her presence and says she knows how he arranged to get Charlie's job. She adds that she read the old review and knows that he loves her. Tye lashes out in a rage, but Jenny declares her feelings for him. Acknowledging their need for each other, Tye and Jenny kiss.

Directed by Charles Walters  

Starring Joan Crawford, Michael Wilding, Gig Young, Marjorie Rambeau, Harry Morgan, more...

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