|SONG OF NORWAY (director/writer: Andrew L. Stone; screenwriters: from the play by Homer Curran/musical story by Milton Lazarus; cinematographer: Davis Boulton; editor: Virginia Stone; music: Roland Shaw; cast: Florence Henderson (Nina Grieg), Toralv Maurstad (Edvard Grieg), Edward G. Robinson (Krogstad), Christina Schollin (Theresa Berg), Robert Morley (Berg), Harry Secombe (Bjornsterne Bjornson), Oscar Homolka (Engstrand), Frank Porretta (Rikard Nordraak); Runtime: 138; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Andrew L. Stone/Virginia Stone; Playhouse Video; 1970)|
|"A rare miss
from one of my favorite directors, Andrew
by Dennis Schwartz
miss from one of my favorite directors, Andrew
L. Stone ("The Decks Ran
Red"/"Julie"/"Cry Terror!"). It's a dull family type
of fantasy musical biopic, shot in the Sound of Music
style. With 25 songs and 45 musical numbers, all on Norwegian
composer Edvard Greig (Toralv Maurstad), it's
listenable but hardly exciting. Too bad the
composer lived a dull life, and though Stone to his
credit tries to enliven things he still fails. The
raising of tension whether or not Grieg could compose
for his country an indigenous national
music is just not enough to make the film more
of Norway is based on the 1940's Broadway play by
Homer Curran, and many critics say is an improvement
on it. It's shot on some beautiful Norway locations,
bringing its icy fjords, its majestic waterfalls and
snow-capped mountains to life.
It traces Grieg's early life and his fierce struggle for recognition. It climaxes with Grieg's rise to the top, as one of Europe's most popular talents.
Henderson stiffly plays Nina, Grieg's loyal wife,
his cousin and final judge of his songs. Edward
G. Robinson is likable
but a bit out of tune as a gentle piano salesman.
Robert Morley chimes in as the pushy rich merchant
father of Theresa (Christina
Schollin), offering to
be Grieg's patron if he marries his daughter.
Things get no lift from Stone's trite screenplay, neither from the unrewarding kitsch presentation nor from the wooden performance by Toralv Maurstad. Adding to the minuses, the story seemed to take an eternity to unfold. But, at least, the picture-perfect postcard scenery was worth looking at and would certainly be approved of by the Norwegian Tourist Office.
REVIEWED ON 11/16/2014 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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