Torch Song (film)

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Torch Song
Torch Song.jpeg
Original theatrical poster
Directed by Charles Walters
Produced by Henry Berman
Sidney Franklin, Jr.
Charles Schnee
Screenplay by John Michael Hayes
Jan Lustig (de)
Based on Why Should I Cry? (1949)
by I.A.R. Wylie[1]
Starring Joan Crawford
Michael Wilding
Gig Young
Marjorie Rambeau
Music by Adolph Deutsch
Cinematography Robert H. Planck
Edited by Albert Akst
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
October 23, 1953 (1953-10-23)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,029,000[2]
Box office $1,668,000[2]

Torch Song is a 1953 Technicolor romantic musical drama film by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer starring Joan Crawford and Michael Wilding in a story about a Broadway star and her rehearsal pianist. The screenplay by John Michael Hayes and Jan Lustig (de) was based upon the story "Why Should I Cry?" by I. A. R. Wylie in a 1949 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. The film was directed by Charles Walters and produced by Sidney Franklin, Henry Berman, and Charles Schnee. Joan Crawford's singing voice was dubbed by India Adams.

Torch Song has gained note for the musical number "Two-Faced Woman" from The Band Wagon in which Crawford, in blackface, lip-syncs to the voice of India Adams while writhing with male dancers. The film marked Crawford's return to MGM after a ten-year absence. Her original recordings for the soundtrack, which were not used in the film, have survived and been included in home video releases.


Jenny Stewart (Joan Crawford) is a tough Broadway musical star, alienating her colleagues with her neurotic demands for absolute perfection. Jenny takes offense when her new rehearsal pianist Tye Graham (Michael Wilding) criticizes her song stylings and ruthless ways.

Graham was blinded in World War II but fell in love with Jenny when he was a young reporter. Deep down, Jenny yearns for a real and lasting love but is disenchanted with the men around her such as Broadway parasite Cliff Willard (Gig Young).

At the home of her mother (Marjorie Rambeau), she discovers an old newspaper clipping in which Tye reviewed one of her first shows and made it evident he loved her. Jenny realizes she is loved, goes to Tye, and they embrace.


Song list[edit]

1. "You're All the World to Me" - Danced by Joan Crawford and Charles Walters

2. "Follow Me" - Sung by Joan Crawford (dubbed by India Adams)

3. "Two-Faced Woman" (outtake) - Sung by Joan Crawford (dubbed by India Adams)

4. "You Won't Forget Me" - Sung by Joan Crawford (dubbed by India Adams)

5. "Follow Me" (reprise) - Sung by Rudy Render (dubbed by Bill Lee)

6. "Two-Faced Woman" - Sung and Danced by Joan Crawford (dubbed by India Adams) and chorus

7. "Tenderly" - Sung partially by Joan Crawford along to a recording by India Adams


Otis Guernsey, Jr. in the New York Herald Tribune wrote, "Joan Crawford has another of her star-sized roles...she is vivid and irritable, volcanic and feminine...Here is Joan Crawford all over the screen, in command, in love and in color, a real movie star in what amounts to a carefully produced one-woman show."[3]

Torch Song was regarded as a return for Joan Crawford, who, when the picture was released, was fresh off an Academy Award nod for her performance in Sudden Fear, the previous year.

According to MGM records the film made $1,135,000 in the US and Canada and $533,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss of $260,000. The film is now regarded as a campy classic, and a possible influence on Faye Dunaway's portrayal of Crawford in Mommie Dearest.[2]

Award nominations[edit]

Marjorie Rambeau was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the 26th Academy Awards.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  3. ^ Quirk, Lawrence J.. The Films of Joan Crawford. The Citadel Press, 1968.

External links[edit]