Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Song to Remember, Charles Vidor, 1945

It's easy to understand why Ayn Rand hated this: the George Sand character easily could've been based on herself (or rather, her public image), not only in terms of her philiosophy, but also in terms of her lifestyle. The film's repudiation of Sand / Rand in the end, in favour of Paul Muni's fuzzy populism, clearly and quite openly not only targets (in a problematic way, to say the least, although one has to remember that this was produced during World War 2) Rand's hyperbolic individualism, but also this very anti-bourgeois lifestyle. Which is, once again quite openly, alligned with feminism, if not the female experience per se. Muni's character also targets style per se: Oberlon's always extremely well-dressed Sand is the only colourful, extravagant element in an otherwise drab colour palette. Without her, this wouldn't even be a technicolor film!

In the end, Rand's dismissal of the film might be completely wrongheaded (and pointing to her not really having a sense of humour). Oberlon / Sand / Rand might lose the battle for Chopin's heart and life, but she clearly wins the mise en scene.

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