Monday, February 12, 2024

A Dream of Love

I was watching something recently off my DVR -- I think Dirk Bogarde in The Spanish Gardener, since I've got a post on that coming up in a week or so and since the movie TCM aired immediately following was one with Bogarde as Franz Liszt -- and TCM ran a new-to-me short: A Dream of Love.

The movie starts off with an orchestra playing Franz Liszt's Liebestraum, which translates to "Dream of Love", hence the title of the short, befor informing us that this is a story about one of the great loves of Liszt's life that inspired the song. Go back in time to late in Liszt's life, where he's working at a monastery and gets a package that's got a bunch of flowers. That goes back in time to earlier in Liszt's life....

The young Liszt, trying to become a successful composer, needed to pay the bills, which he did by giving music lessons. One of his students was a 17-year-old girl named Caroline St. Cricq, daughter of a Baron and Barones and as such much above Liszt's class. The two fall in love and Liszt takes her to see some Gypsies, which gives them the chance to play a bit of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, the most famous of Liszt's Rhapsodies and the song used in the Tom and Jerry classic The Cat Concerto. Caroline's parents discover the relationship and are horrified, forcing the two to split up.

The first think I noticed as I watched this short is that it was directed by James A. FitzPatrick, of Traveltalks fame. Then I saw the copyright date, 1938, which made me think that MGM must have made it to go with one of their prestige movies, The Great Waltz, which was about fellow composer Johann Strauss Jr. And then in looking it up on IMDb, I saw why the movie is so disjointed and it feels like there's almost nothing that actually happens in the movie.

IMDb gives the movie a running time of 37 minutes, but the version TCM ran was only 17 minutes! And apparently the 17-minute version is the only one known to exist. Obviously, if a 37-minute short is cut down by half, there's a lot of narrative that's going to get cut out and what's left might not make a lot of sense, which is certainly the case here.

With TCM not announcing shorts on their schedule, I don't know when it's next going to be on TCM.

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