Humoresque (1920) DVD
Growing up in poverty in the Jewish Ghetto of New York, young Leon Kantor dreams of being a famous violinist. Discouraged by his father and laughed at by his friends, his only supporter is his loving mother. She prays for her son's success at the synagogue every night.Years later, the adult Leon plays to captive audiences all over the world, and his newfound fame is able to lift his family out of poverty. But rumblings of war begin in Europe, and the violinist feels the need to enlist. Tragically, hereturns home from the battlefield with a paralyzed arm, destroying his ability to play the instrument he loves so dearly. Falling into a deep depression, this time even his mother's prayers may not be enough to restore Leon's faith.Humoresque is considered the first major work of acclaimed director Frank Borzage, best known for films such as 7th Heaven (1927) and Man's Castle (1933). Impressed with the then-27-year-old director's early efforts Society for Sale (1918) and Whom the Gods Would Destroy (1919), producer William Randolph Hearst gave Borzage free reign to adapt any literary work he pleased. Working with renowned screenwriter Frances Marion (later an Academy Award winner for The Big House and The Champ), the director chose a story that had been previously been serialized in one of Hearst's magazines by Fannie Hurst. Despite qualms from both Hearst and Paramount executive Adolph Zukor that the resulting film depicted the Jewish-American experience in too gritty a manner, Humoresque packedmovie houses. Critically acclaimed, Humoresque would be the first film to win the Photoplay Medal of Honor, a forerunner of the Academy Awards. It was remade in 1946 with Joan Crawford and John Garfield.