Duet for One is based on the life of conductor Daniel Barenboim and his wife, cellist Jacqueline du Pré, and Cannon originally bought this back when they made The Wicked Lady, as it was a movie that Faye Dunaway and her husband Terry O’Neill had wanted to make.
A stage play by Tom Kempinski, who also wrote the screenplay, this movie was directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, who also made Maria’s Lovers and Runaway Train for Cannon, so he had good luck at making highly regarded films for the lowly regarded studio.
Stephanie Anderson (Julie Andrews) is a world-famous violinist who has lost the ability to play and must redefine her relationships with her husband David (Alan Bates), her accompanist Leonid Lefimov (Sigfrit Steiner), her star pupil Constantine Kassanis (Rupert Everett) and her manager Sonia Randvich (Margaret Courtenay).
She sees Dr. Louis Feldman (Max von Sydow) for help, but he can’t help her with the rage she feels. Her husband will turn to drink, her accompanist will die, her student will leave and she’ll eventually give away all of her music possessions to a man (Liam Neeson) who can only give her physical affection.
As she finally gives in to the pain and attempts to overdose, only her maid remains to try to save her. And by the end, in what may be a dream, she’s grown closer to the doctor, Constantine returns and Leonid comes back from the dead as a ghost.
Duet for One is a hard watch in a good way, as it’s loaded with emotional darkness. I’m always amazed by the movies that Cannon was part of and the fact that they could make both this movie and Going Bananas.