Jerry Wald’s biopicturing of the career of ’10 Magic Fingers’ is not all the sorrow and woe that the story of Eddy Duchin might suggest. There’s no escaping the fact that the pianist’s first wife died shortly after childbirth. And that this was followed 12 years later by Duchin’s own death, at the age of 41, as the result of leukemia.
But Samuel Taylor plays up humor and romance as well as the inherent hardship in his script [from a story by Leo Katcher] and George Sidney’s direction, sensitive for the most part, sustains a high dramatic tone.
Key asset is Tyrone Power in the title role. He’s personable and eager as he hits Gotham bent only on tapping out pop and pseudo-classical rhythms on the 88. He looks like he’s genuinely thrilled with the splendors of New York and confident that his letter of introduction will land him a job with Leo Reisman’s orchestra at the old Central Park Casino.
It’s through the intervention of Kim Novak that the position in the band is his. The Novak-Power match builds tenderly.
Newcomer Victoria Shaw, Power’s second wife, comes across with particular effectiveness, showing understanding of the role and executing it with proper feeling.
1956: Nominations: Best Motion Picture Story, Color Cinematography, Scoring of a Musical Picture, Sound