14 February 2008 | beyondtheforest
I am sentimental about Torch Song because I can remember being an adolescent who absolutely idolized Joan in this movie. This movie presents her as a goddess for the audience to worship. Truth is, Joan was as beautiful as ever, and her gowns and jewelry are achingly glamorous. Her closeups, even at this late stage, could still rival Garbo. Crawford possessed one of the best faces in cinema history.
The best thing about Torch Song is the use of color. It is a character in itself. Soft blue is the dominant hue.
If you watch Torch Song in the right frame of mind, and prepared to appreciate instead of criticize or laugh, it is possible to come away from it as deliriously enraptured as I was the first time I saw it-- at the age of thirteen (in the '90s). Joan herself loved this movie. It represents complete escapism, but requires that essential suspension of thought. This is territory of glamour and romance, not film analysis.
From a film critic's perspective, and not necessarily a fan's perspective, it is possible to come away from this film viewing it as a dreary, poorly-produced and performed relic. It is not exceptional, technically, in any aspect. Yet, if allowed, the film will hold a spell over the viewer. But it requires a young, indiscriminate mind, able to see freshness in some things which upon closer examination are not original.
The Warner Bros. DVD, unfortunately, does not capitalize on the film's strongest asset -- color. Therefore, it is recommended that you adjust the color and tint level of your television to the highest level before viewing TORCH SONG. This will compensate for the washed out colors of the print, and return Joan's hair color to the appropriate shade of bright apricot, and her lipstick to bright red.