(ag) wrote: Such a unique premise - two troubled teens "running away" by hiding on the roof of one of their houses. Obviously, this situation makes for plenty of entertaining and humorous moments, and the seclusion is also perfect for a first love to blossom in a way that comes across as very natural. So the movie is appropriately lighthearted at first, as these kids arent in any real danger, but it takes a darker turn when they begin to look inward and realize that neither running nor hiding will solve their problems. At this point, I began to get a heavy foreboding feeling, and despite how shocking and devastating the ending still is, I really got the sense that there was ultimately no avoiding it.
(es) wrote: There's a moment in "Humoresque" in which the camera holds an uncomfortably intimate, delectably smoldering, close-up on the face of Joan Crawford. In this moment, her love interest in the film, the much younger John Garfield, is playing first violin in a prestigious symphony, his passion seeping out of the romantic strings of the instrument. The audience is enraptured by his playing, gaping at him as if he were a descendant of a godly musical figure. But Crawford's Helen, the forty-something mentor of Garfield's aspiring musician Paul, reacts as though the music soaking the room is something akin to seduction. In euphoria, she closes her eyes, her palmetto eyelashes accenting her emotion; her shiny lips widen ever so slightly, her ecstasy deep-seated and vulnerably palpable. Helen loves Paul; his playing touches her sensually in ways his hands cannot. Something in her knows that this flurry of tune is the closest she'll ever come to an adoration requited. "Humoresque," a sumptuous weeper directed by the emotionally handy Jean Negulesco, is the kind of melodrama that finds most of its intrigue through agitated sequences such as this one. It's a tear-jerker of high style that believes only in grand gestures and simmering dialogue, which, synonymously, defines it as a perfect Joan Crawford vehicle (but not a perfect film). So while Crawford is certainly the best thing about "Humoresque," which begins as a surprisingly acidic course of sexual tension that unfortunately ends as a forced soap opera of potboiler quality, the film's true star is Garfield, then at the height of his career and fresh from his legendary turn in "The Postman Always Rings Twice." In the film, he is Paul Boray, an immensely talented violinist determined to overcome the limitations of his blue collar upbringing. He'd be fine working his way up to the top organically, even if that said working is long-winded and punishing. But after attending a ritzy party with his friend (and confidant) Sid (Oscar Levant), an extraordinary pianist, he comes into contact with Helen Wright (Crawford), a wealthy socialite who goes through men excessively and unremittingly. She's on her third marriage, to a wrinkled intellectual (Paul Cavanagh), but that doesn't stop her from partaking in several affairs. Because she's a seductress capable of getting nearly anything she wants, Helen sets her sights on Paul more for a good lay than for his talent. And yet Paul, whose elbow greased upbringing has taught him a thing or two about morals, resists Helen's initial flirtations - he's attracted to her, but is wary of her intentions. Not used to standoffishness in response to her most coquettish moves, her interest amplifies. Aware that he's gifted and aware that providing him with the fame he deserves is the best way to win him over, Helen buys him an agent, lands him a tour, and integrates him into her social circle. In no time, Paul is the toast of the town. But entanglements arise from the mutual love consistently growing between him and his Svengali; their affection might be real, but their differences in age, class, and ideals block any clear paths. For most of its length, "Humoresque" is so astute, both in its pithy conversation and its convincing performances, that it rings as something much smarter than a typical women's picture - though it has love on the brain, it, more often than not, seems like a crisp drama more focused on human nature, and how overnight success can simultaneously lift up and destroy a person. As the person being lifted up and destroyed, Garfield is staggering, drifting back and forth between navet and cruel ambition with biting realism. But as "Humoresque" starts to wrap up, it also begins to shift more of its attention onto Crawford, whose Helen is the classic adulteress who eventually realizes that all the love she has to give will never be enough. The film inevitably becomes unwittingly sudsy, thus betraying the vigilantly sharp theatrics of the acts preceding it. I would have found it more interesting, for instance, if Helen were to fall victim to a fatal accident of some sort, watching Paul deal with the repercussions of living without his mentor and his lover. But the film's movement toward sudden despair is tired and unconvincing; it seems needlessly bleak, partly because Garfield and Crawford's chemistry is never potent enough to prove to us that Helen and Paul's relationship is as fiery as it's made out to be, and partly because the conclusion, which is hinted at on the DVD release cover art, is much too overdramatic for a film that, unanticipatedly, refrains from covering itself in schmaltz. Still, "Humoresque" is beautifully photographed - expansive with a hint of German expressionism - and superbly acted by the tough-talking Garfield and the luminous Crawford (whom the camera fondles). Ironically, the film was released the same year as "Deception," a vehicle for Crawford's archenemy, Bette Davis, which was similarly set in the music world. Because "Deception" is deadlier and is more willing to admit that it's pretty wild, I prefer it to the more level-headed "Humoresque." But in performance and in comprehensive design, the latter wins out. Always ethereal in appearance and more fatalistic in its undertones, it's something special, even though its intellect loses the battle against dumbed down crowd-pleasing.
(es) wrote: I expected it to be poor, it was worse than I thought. Extremely unrealistic and painful story, the acting from everyone including Harrison is B movie at best, Harrison Ford is stuck as the story is stupid, the sets are B movie, but hopefully he got a nice paycheck. The so called criminal "masterminds" who take Ford and his family hostage in order that Ford goes into his workplace (a bank) and transfer out millions of dollars to the bad guys just wasn't thought out at all by the self proclaimed geniuses in the bad guy group. The film ends with the would-be robbers bungling everything to shit, and this crappy film ending which was a huge relief for me. Terrible film, avoid.