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USA 1957
Directed by
Douglas Sirk
85 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars


Douglas Sirk’s body of work in Hollywood during the 1950s is rightly regarded as having more outstanding entries than most directors manage in their entire careers. Unfortunately Interlude is not a member of this illustrious company. Although it has the lush Technicolor palette and paradigmatic period design style that the director's fans lap up, the film is poorly cast and the dramatic realization superficial.

Rossano Brazzi, who would achieve the pinnacle of his career as a romantic lead the following year with South Pacific, plays a famous conductor, Tonio Fischer, who falls in love with June Allyson’s perky librarian, Helen Banning, while she is on a working holiday in post-war Munich.

Aside from the fact that films involving classical musicians seem doomed to the doldrums of sentimental kitsch (compare this for instance to Charles Vidor's 1954 clunker, Rhapsody, that paired Elizabeth Taylor with Vittorio Gassman although Max Ophuls' Letter From An Unknown Woman, 1948 might be cited as a counter-example), Brazzi has none of the urbane charm that Charles Boyer contributed to the 1939 John M Stahl original, When Tomorrow Comes (which was based on a story by James M. Cain) Allyson, who carved out a solid career for herself in the 1940s as a peppy All-American girl-next-door type is too old for the part (she was 40 and her character is supposed to be somewhere in her 20s) and has no evident qualities that would appeal to this mature-aged high-brow. Indeed the pair have no onscreen chemistry and their romantic fernangalings are perfunctory at best with Fischer’s big secret, which was well handled in the admittedly hyper-melodramatic 1939 version, is a real non-event here.

The drama is padded out with lots of travel brochure photography including a visit to Mozart's home in Salzburg where Fischer plays Mozart's piano for his inamorata (clearly curatorial standards were a lot laxer in 1957 than today). The real Sirkian punch line comes at the film’s end when the emotionally-traumatized Helen decides to return to her hometown of Philadelphia with boring-but-dependable Dr. Morley Dwyer (Keith Andes), a tragedy may be, but frankly it's hard to care.

FYI: Sirk remade two other John M Stahl films, Magnificent Obsession in 1954 and Imitation Of Life (1959).




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