Prelude to Fame

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Prelude to Fame
Directed by Fergus McDonell
Produced by Donald B. Wilson
Written by Aldous Huxley (story "Young Archimedes")
Robert Westerby
Bridget Boland
Starring Kathleen Byron
Distributed by General Film Distributors (UK)
Universal-International (US)
Release date
2 May 1950 (UK)
9 November 1950 (US)
Running time
78 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Prelude to Fame is a 1950 British drama film directed by Fergus McDonell, based on the 1924 story Young Archimides by Aldous Huxley, and starring Guy Rolfe, Kathleen Byron, Kathleen Ryan, James Robertson Justice, Robert Rietti and Christopher Lee.


While vacationing in Italy, Nick Morell (Robin Dowell), son of John Morell (Guy Rolfe), a famous English philosopher and amateur musician and his wife Catherine (Kathleen Ryan), becomes friendly with young Guido (Jeremy Spenser). Morell discovers the boy has an extraordinary instinct for orchestration and a phenomenal music memory. A neighboring couple, Signor and Signora Boudini (Henry Oscar and Kathleen Byron) become aware of the boy's talents, and the Signora appeals to Guido's parents to let her educate him musically. Torn by their love for their son and the duty they feel to let the world hear his talent, they consent.

Guido is tutored by Dr. Lorenzo (John Slater). Signora Bondini denies the boy all contact with his parents and everyone else except her. She also has neither sent his letters to his family, nor let him see the ones they've sent to him. He becomes phenomenally successful and makes the grand tour of Europe, while Signora Bondini is enraptured by the acclaim given her through her "discovery" of the boy. She prepares to take him to America and also prepares adoption papers.

Production background[edit]

This was the last film produced in the Rank Organisation's "Independent Frame" production system.[1]


External links[edit]