28 April 2009 | Doylenf
The music is brilliant--the story is a test of endurance...
If you love classical music, CARNEGIE HALL will give you an earful. Some of the great performers of the time are seen in concert, such as Leopold Stokowski conducting Tchaikovsky's "Symphony in E Minor," Artur Rubenstein doing Chopin's "Polonaise" and "The Ritual Fire Dance" at the piano keyboard, Jascha Heifetz and his nimble fingers on the violin for Tchaikovsky's "Concerto for Violin," all performed brilliantly and making for a memorable soundtrack.
But the story is a mawkish affair--MARSHA HUNT wanting her son to be a concert pianist who will some day play at Carnegie Hall, while he has other plans that include the world of modern music. When he joins the Vaughan Monroe band, mother and son sever their relationship and the rest of the tale treads the predictable movie line of many a backstage musical with no inspiration from the screenwriter.
It doesn't help that Hunt's age make-up is as artificial as the thin plot that is supposed to hold all of this music together. WILLIAM PRINCE as her son makes almost no impression and MARTHA O'DRISCOLL is merely eye candy as the girlfriend who becomes his wife.
If only the producers had a script worthy of all this music. RISE STEVENS does a nice job on an aria from "Carmen" and LILY PONS gets to do her famous "Bell Song," but neither of these acts are staged as more than "get up to the mike and sing." EZIO PINZA and JAN PEERCE are a bit luckier in the staging of their arias.
Music lovers will certainly appreciate all the musical bits, some of which go on for quite a lengthy time while what little plot there is comes to a complete standstill.
A feast for the ears, but not much can be said about the film itself which is more like a test of endurance over two hours and sixteen minutes of running time.
Trivia note: All of the performing scenes were actually filmed at the newly refurbished Carnegie Hall.