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From Schumann to Ziegfeld: Actor Paul Henreid

Paul HenreidPaul Henreid: Actor was ’dependable’ leading man to Hollywood actresses

Paul Henreid, best known as the man who wins Ingrid Bergman’s body but not her heart in Casablanca, is Turner Classic Movies’ Star of the Month of July 2013. TCM will be showing a couple of dozen movies featuring Henreid, who, though never a top star, was a "dependable" — i.e., unexciting but available — leading man to a number of top Hollywood actresses of the ’40s, among them Bette Davis, Ida Lupino, Olivia de Havilland, Eleanor Parker, Joan Bennett, and Katharine Hepburn.

Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of Paul Henreid movies to be shown on Turner Classic Movies in July consists of Warner Bros. productions that are frequently broadcast all year long, no matter who is TCM’s Star of the Month. Just as unfortunately, TCM will not present any of Henreid’s little-seen supporting performances of the ’30s, e.g., in Erich Engel’s Austrian-made High School (1934); Johannes Riemann’ German-Austrian co-production Eva, the Factory Girl (1935), starring Magda Schneider (Romy Schneider’s mother) in the title role, opposite German film icon Heinz Rühmann; or Herbert Wilcox’s blockbuster Victoria the Great (1937), with Anna Neagle in the title role and Anton Walbrook as Prince Albert.

Instead, if you’ve missed all of TCM’s 41,483 showings of Casablanca, you’ll finally get your chance to check it out this month. Same with Now, Voyager; Between Two Worlds (featuring last month’s Star of the Month Eleanor Parker); Goodbye, Mr. Chips; Deception; and Devotion.

Paul Henreid movies

None of tonight’s Paul Henreid movies is considered a masterpiece. Not even close. Devotion (made in 1943, released in 1946), about the Brontë sisters, is chiefly of interest as the last Warner Bros. movie starring Olivia de Havilland (who, by the way, turned 97 yesterday). Devotion was released nearly three years after de Havilland sued the studio — eventually winning a landmark court case. Of note: Ida Lupino is the one who gets top billing in the film. (See also: "Olivia de Havilland vs. Warner Bros.")

From novelists to composers: In Clarence Brown’s Song of Love (1947), made at MGM, Paul Henreid plays Robert Schumann to Katharine Hepburn’s Clara Wieck Schumann. Robert Walker, before becoming a murderously psychotic gay man (Strangers on a Train) and — even more damning — an atheist communist (My Son John), plays Johannes Brahms. And there’s more: Henry Daniell as Franz Liszt, and, if the IMDb is to be believed, future Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner George Chakiris (West Side Story) as a chorus boy, and the star of 1921’s Queen of Sheba, Betty Blythe, as an opera-glasses-wearing lady at, where else, the opera.

From composers to theatrical impresarios (and more composers): In the box office hit Deep in My Heart (1954), Paul Henreid plays Florenz Ziegfeld opposite José Ferrer’s Sigmund Romberg and Merle Oberon’s Dorothy Donnelly. Deep in My Heart’s all-star cast also includes Walter Pidgeon, Helen Traubel, Gene Kelly, Jane Powell, Ann Miller, Vic Damone, Cyd Charisse, Howard Keel, Tony Martin, and George Clooney’s aunt Rosemary Clooney.

As for Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956), it’s probably one the reasons the careers of Cyd Charisse and Dan Dailey went down the drain in the late ’50s.

Paul Henreid movie schedule (PT)

5:00 PM IN OUR TIME (1944). A Polish count and his English wife battle Nazi invaders. Director: Vincent Sherman. Cast: Ida Lupino, Paul Henreid, Nancy Coleman, Mary Boland, Victor Francen, Alla Nazimova, Michael Chekhov, Frank Reicher. BW-111 mins.

7:00 PM DEVOTION (1946). The Brontë sisters and their brother fight personal demons to realize their artistic ambitions. Director: Curtis Bernhardt. Cast: Ida Lupino, Paul Henreid, Olivia de Havilland, Sydney Greenstreet, Nancy Coleman, Arthur Kennedy, Dame May Whitty, Victor Francen, Montagu Love, Ethel Griffies, Edmund Breon, Doris Lloyd, Billy Bevan, Elspeth Dudgeon. BW-107 mins.

9:00 PM SONG OF LOVE (1947). True story of Clara Schumann’s battle to save husband Robert’s health and resist the romantic overtures of Johannes Brahms. Director: Clarence Brown. Cast: Katharine Hepburn, Paul Henreid, Robert Walker, Henry Daniell, Leo G. Carroll, Elsa Janssen, Gigi Perreau, Tala Birell, Henry Stephenson, Betty Blythe, George Chakiris, Frank Reicher. BW-118 mins.

11:15 PM DEEP IN MY HEART (1954). Musical biography of composer Sigmund Romberg, who fought to bring serious music to Broadway. Director: Stanley Donen. Cast: Jose Ferrer, Merle Oberon, Walter Pidgeon, Paul Henreid, Helen Traubel, Doe Avedon, Tamara Toumanova, Paul Stewart, Isobel Elsom, Rosemary Clooney, Jim Backus, Gene Kelly, Jane Powell, Ann Miller, Vic Damone, Cyd Charisse, Howard Keel, Tony Martin, Fred Kelly, William Olvis, James Mitchell, Joan Weldon, Russ Tamblyn. C-132 mins. Letterbox Format.

1:30 AM MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS (1956). A ballerina becomes a gambler’s lucky charm. Director: Roy Rowland. Cast: Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Agnes Moorehead, Jim Backus, Paul Henreid, Lili Darvas, Cara Williams, George Chakiris, Betty Lynn, Lena Horne, Frankie Laine, The Four Aces, Pier Angeli, Vic Damone, Steve Forrest, Mitsuko Sawamura. C-112 mins. Letterbox Format.

Paul Henreid movie schedule via the TCM website.

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