A Song to Remember

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This article is about the movie. For the Singaporean TV drama, see A Song to Remember (TV series).
A Song to Remember
Song to Remember .jpeg
Video cover for A Song to Remember
Directed by Charles Vidor
Produced by B. F. Zeidman
Written by Ernst Marischka (Story)
Sidney Buchman
Starring Paul Muni
Cornel Wilde
Merle Oberon
Nina Foch
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Cinematography Tony Gaudio
Allen M. Davey
Edited by Charles Nelson
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • January 18, 1945 (1945-01-18)
Running time
113 minutes
Country United States
Language English

A Song to Remember is a 1945 Columbia Pictures Technicolor biographical film which tells a fictionalised life story of Polish pianist and composer Frédéric Chopin. Directed by Charles Vidor, the film starred Cornel Wilde (as Chopin), Merle Oberon (as George Sand), Paul Muni (as Józef Elsner), Stephen Bekassy (as Franz Liszt), and Nina Foch.


Vidor romanticizes Chopin's patriotism in the film, which was produced during World War II. Chopin, played by Cornel Wilde, is first presented to the audience as a child prodigy playing a piece by Mozart, but suddenly starts to bang on the piano keys when he notices out the window that Polish people are being taken prisoners by the Russian authorities.

The film also shows Chopin taking part in secret meetings to work on saving Poland with his young friends. Vidor depicts patriotism as a major motive for Chopin playing the piano. He attends a secret meeting instead of showing up on time for his concert in front of a count and distinguished guests.

In addition, when he finally performs at the concert, he stops playing when he sees the Russian Governor of Poland enter the room. Chopin stands up and announces, "I do not perform for Czarist butchers." He storms out of the room as his famous Revolutionary Étude starts in the background.

Before leaving Poland for Paris, Chopin clutches Polish earth in his hands. When he arrives in Paris, he says: "I’m thinking of my people back home. You see, there was a purpose in coming to Paris."

The first work of Chopin's that is heard in Paris is his "Heroic" Polonaise, a song for Poland. The appearance of George Sand, played by Merle Oberon, alters Chopin's life. Vidor portrays George Sand as a disruptive figure in Chopin's life, who seduces him and distracts him from Poland. At the end of the film, he gives a passionate concert tour around Europe, despite his failing health. In one of his concerts, Chopin starts bleeding.

The pianist José Iturbi played the piano music, and also orchestrated part of the B minor Sonata for the scene when Chopin and George Sand arrive in Majorca.

The hands of pianist Ervin Nyiregyházi are shown playing the piano.



A Song to Remember was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Cornel Wilde), Best Cinematography, Color, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, Best Sound, Recording (John P. Livadary) and Best Writing, Original Story.[1]

Ayn Rand was sharply critical of the film, strongly taking the side of the George Sand character as against the Polish nationalist ones - a value judgement diametrically opposite to that taken by the film makers: "George Sand, according to the film, is evil because she provides a beautiful, private retreat where Chopin can live in peace and luxury, because she takes care of his every need, attends to his health, and urges him to forget the world and devote himself exclusively to the work of writing music, which he is desperately eager to do. The young Polish girl, according to the film, is good because she urges Chopin to drop the work that he loves and go out on a concert tour to collect money "for the people", for a cause that is identified as national or revolutionary or both, and this is supposed to justify everything - so she demands that Chopin renounce his genius, sacrifice his composing and go out to entertain paying audiences - even though he hates concert playing, is ill with tuberculosis and has been warned by the doctors that the strain of a tour will kill him".[2]


Liberace's trademark electric candelabrum was inspired by a similar prop in A Song to Remember.[3]


  1. ^ "The 18th Academy Awards (1946) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-16. 
  2. ^ The highly critical review of "A Song to Remember" appears in "Journals of Ayn Rand", edited by David Harriman, Plume Books (Penguin Group), 1999, Ch.10, P.369-370.
  3. ^ Kart, Larry (February 5, 1987). "Liberace, 67, Pianist Turned One-man Musical Circus`". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 

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