MovieChat Forums > A Song to Remember (1945) Discussion > A bit hard on George, no? (SPOILERS)

A bit hard on George, no? (SPOILERS)

I must admit that I only caught the end of this on TV yesterday, and am no authority on Sand and Chopin, but was this movie not a bit hard on George Sand? The woman, it seems, was no saint, but the optimist in me finds it hard to believe she was such a toxic monster. Apparently, friends of Chopin claimed she had a poisonous influence on Chopin, and contributed to his premature death. But the woman was still human.

Oberon was superb as the viperous femme fatale of high melodrama, but she is more Veda Pierce than historical woman. That goes for the rest of what I saw of this movie...history as a loose jumping off point for attractively filmed, high-brow melodrama.

Judy Davis's George Sand came across as a more balanced representation, as a woman not on the same moral plane as Chopin, but still lively, intelligent, and concerned about him.

Frankly, I thought Sand's outbursts at the end of "A Song to Remember" were logical and well-founded. What was she saying? "Don't waste a great life to go on a foolhardy tour that will surely kill you." Who wouldn't make that argument for someone they loved. I didn't see the rest of the film, but the ending villainises Sand, essentially for being concerned for his health. She loves the man more than his art. The others in this film, the "saintly" figures (e.g. that ninny Constantina and that Paul Muni professor character), care about the art, but are willing to sacrifice the man. I say that these are the reel monsters, who will exploit a week and brilliant man as a human resource, extracting his brilliance for the sake of "ideals" and leaving the man a dead shell.

Yep, Sand was right...I side with her.


It was very hard on George. The screenwriters certainly let us know what they thought of "women's libber types" didn't they! Then again, one could hardly expect a production code-inflicted era to be sympathetic to George Sand.

The real George Sand was quite active and vocal about social causes, yet this screen creation lives only for her own glory.

And you're quite right, the movie is perverse painting Paul Muni and Nina Foch as saintly in their ideals considering they urge Chopin on to an exhaustive concert tour when he hasn't the health for it. Only by demonizing George Sand can one discount the soundness in her advice that such a tour would be suicidal.


My sentiments exactly. I thought that speech she gave at the end about understanding the value of survival because she had had to claw her way to the top and fight to survive as a strong woman in a suffocating society was priceless. Unfortunately they made her made her seem like an insidious bloodscuker the entire time she was saying it.


Yes, Sand was the heavy in this movie, and it was overdone. That's Hollywood for you.


I was struck by Oberon's makeup and the camera angles used during those scenes. She actually looks a bit like Kathleen Byron in Sister Ruth's "mad" scenes in Black Narcissus (released two years after Song, so I'm sure it's just coincidentally similar makeup/lighting/shooting).

This movie made me extremely uncomfortable in its treatment of Sand, and by extension, women.

last 2 dvds: La promesse (1996) & Man Hunt (1941)


Ooh, Kathleen Byron was good in that! It's one of my all time favorites, but since we're on the topic, one could argue that it's one of many films from the era that trivialize women's mental illness by attributing it to being either undersexed or oversexed.

Similarly this movie vilifies Sand (almost to the point of madness) for living her life on her own terms and being sexually liberated, and sanctifies Constantina for her virtue, and idolatrous devotion to furthering the greatness of a man.


Well, she was NO saint to Chopin in real-life as well. She happened to write a story which is about the couple's fictionalised version of their relationship, something that Chopin didn't like it!