Humoresque ★★★

Humoresque has glimmers of real passion, but it’s just so bogged down by the weight of its overblown story. It plays out like a by-the-numbers musical drama, a cinematic recreation of so many stories we’ve seen dozens and dozens of times before. I’m a big fan of both John Garfield and Joan Crawford— they’re enticing on screen together, when the film allows them the chance. The underlying problem is that the film just can’t escape its own tiresome seriousness. Beyond the performances, an aspect of the film I did enjoy, however, is the unique editing and gorgeous cinematography. Unlike a lot of music-centered movies, the music here is not a separate entity from the action of the plot. It melts Garfield’s violin performances with close-ups of Joan Crawford’s face, and the film crescendos so beautifully to a magnificent climax. I wish I liked this film more, but it could have really benefited from a tighter runtime (and more Joan Crawford).