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Humoresque

Thursday, June 24, 2021, 7:30 p.m., Dryden Theatre

(Jean Negulesco, US 1946, 125 min., 35mm)

Joan Crawford and John Garfield are the two lovers at the center of a story that examines two kinds of passion—one destructive, the other unyielding and pure. Garfield plays a violin virtuoso from the slums who falls for Crawford, a society hostess with a taste for la vie bohème, liquor, and handsome men who aren’t her husband. Skirting censors, director Negulesco and Crawford contrive to evoke the inner grip of desire with one of the most startling close-ups ever taken. Clifford Odets’s snappy, literate dialogue turns what might have been a routine melodrama into something pungently flavorful. Beautifully acted, designed, and directed, Humoresque may be Crawford’s crowning achievement.

 

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