The Eddy Duchin Story (1956)


The real-life story of celebrated band-leader and pianist Eddy Duchin (Tyrone Power, Witness for the Prosecution), whose career was cut short by cancer.

Reaction & Thoughts:

“It’s strange how unreal the real can be”

Although it’s full of grating anachronisms and historical inaccuracies, The Eddy Duchin Story is an enjoyable and affecting three-handkerchief biopic with astounding performances, and, of course, extraordinary music.

It’s obvious from the start that writer Samuel A. Taylor (Sabrina Fair) and director George Sidney (Anchors Aweigh) had no intention of sticking to the facts. Evidently, they were more interested in creating dramatic tension than in recreating real-life events. What matters most here is the work of the actors, and the cast is terrific.

Tyron Power does a good job as the famous musician, despite the fact that he is way too old for the role. If you do the math, the 40-ish Power is supposed to be in his teens and twenties for at least half of the movie. While I admit that he works very hard to convey the enthusiasm and wide-eyed attitude of a naive young man, I still think Power is much better during the second half when he doesn’t have to act young.

That said, Kim Novak walks away with the movie. She plays Duchin’s first wife, socialite Marjorie Oelrichs. Novak is luminous, and the movie never fully recovers from her abrupt exist — she disappears before the end of the first half. The scenes between Novak and Power are very romantic, and she has a truly heart-wrenching last scene. It doesn’t hurt that she looks absolutely stunning in CinemaScope (Technicolor).

And while we’re on the subject of CinemaScope, I want to empathize the fact that the movie does look great. Photographed by Harry Stradling, whose credits include My Fair Lady (1964) and Funny Girl (1968), the film looks as it was shot through a silk hankie. In fact, every aspect of the production is plain gorgeous, including famed fashionista Jean Louis’s (Born Yesterday and Ship of Fools) elegant costumes.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Notwithstanding the not-too-accurate narrative, The Eddy Duchin Story is poignant and entertaining, and director George Sidney’s sure hand keeps the story from ever becoming a schmaltzy mess. Plus, stars Tyron Power and Kim Novak are a great romantic pair. Duchin’s fabulous music — performed by renowned American pianist Carmen Cavallaro — is the icing on the cake. Color, 121 minutes, Not Rated.

This is my contribution to The Kim Novak Blogathon, hosted by The Classic Muse.


13 responses to “The Eddy Duchin Story (1956)

  1. Pingback: Welcome to The Kim Novak Blogathon: A 90th Birthday Celebration!! |·

  2. I think this movie has some of the most heartbreaking scenes I’ve ever seen. And I can never hear that Chopin piece without thinking of this beautiful film and the stellar performances.

    Thanks so much for bringing this film to the blogathon, Eric! 🙂 Have you read Peter Duchin’s memoir?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your review, how it brings the movie alive, and I’m not even a Novak or Power fan. I think they were a little before my time (although I did enjoy watching “old” movies when I was a teenager). I love how you describe Power as having to “act young” and was better when he was older and didn’t have to do that, lol. I can only imagine–wide eyes, big smiles, lots of “enthusiasm”? I’m also looking up Eddy Duchin, because I’ve never heard of him. But sounds like a bit talent sadly and prematurely cut short.

    Liked by 1 person

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