Humoresque (1920 film)

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Humoresque (1920) - Ad 2.jpg
Advertisement for the film, 1920
Directed byFrank Borzage
Produced byWilliam Randolph Hearst (uncredited)
Written byWilliam LeBaron
Frances Marion
Story byFannie Hurst
StarringGaston Glass
Vera Gordon
Bobby Connelly
Alma Rubens
Music byHugo Riesenfeld
CinematographyGilbert Warrenton
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • May 30, 1920 (1920-05-30) (United States)
Running time
71 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)
L-R: Unidentified man, Bobby Connelly and Miriam Battista in Humoresque (1920)

Humoresque (1920) is an American silent drama film produced by Cosmopolitan Productions, released by Famous Players-Lasky and Paramount Pictures, and was directed by Frank Borzage from a short story by Fannie Hurst and script or scenario by Frances Marion.

This film was the first film to win the Photoplay Medal of Honor, a precursor of the Academy Award for Best Picture.[2]

In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[3]


As described in a film magazine,[4] Abraham Kantor, born in the squalor of New York City's East Side, shows an early musical ability that wins his mother's support despite the obstacles in his way. As time goes on, he improves his talent until, just as he is about to sign an important contract, he is called to war. Returning after being wounded and pronounced crippled for life, he is broken in spirit, as well as in body, losing faith in all that he formerly held dear. Again his mother's love comes to his support, and a happy result comes when he recovers the use of his arm and again takes up the violin.


  • Gaston Glass as Leon Kantor
  • Vera Gordon as Mama Kantor
  • Alma Rubens as Gina Berg (aka Minnie Ginsberg)
  • Dore Davidson as Abraham Kantor
  • Bobby Connelly as Leon Kantor (child)
  • Helen Connelly as Esther Kantor (child)
  • Ann Wallack as Esther Kantor (adult) (credited as Ann Wallick)
  • Sidney Carlyle as Mannie Kantor
  • Joseph Cooper as Isadore Kantor (child)
  • Maurice Levigne as Isadore Kantor (adult)
  • Alfred Goldberg as Rudolph Kantor (child)
  • Edward Stanton as Rudolph Kantor (adult)
  • Louis Stern as Sol Ginsberg (credited as Louis Stearns)
  • Maurice Peckre as Boris Kantor
  • Ruth Sabin as Mrs. Isadore Kantor
  • Miriam Battista as Minnie Ginsberg (child)


In 1921, the first Photoplay Medal of Honor was presented to Cosmopolitan Productions for Humoresque

Humoresque was the first film to receive the Photoplay Medal of Honor, the first motion picture award, preceding the Academy Awards by nine years. Recipients of the award were selected by the two million readers of Photoplay magazine.[5]

Preservation status[edit]

The film has undergone a restoration at the UCLA Film and Television Archive.[6]


  1. ^ "Humoresque". YouTube. 1920. Film preserved by the UCLA Film, Television & Radio Archives.
  2. ^ "Photoplay Awards, Awards for 1920, Medal of Honor Winner".
  3. ^ Mike Barnes (December 16, 2015). "'Ghostbusters,' 'Top Gun,' 'Shawshank' Enter National Film Registry". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  4. ^ "Reviews: Humoresque". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 10 (22): 70. May 29, 1920.
  5. ^ King, Susan (June 13, 2011). "Classic Hollywood: Film academy to screen Photoplay Magazine Medal of Honor winners". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  6. ^ Progressive Silent Film List: Humoresque at

External links[edit]