Alexander Nevsky - source of term "torch song"?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dennis Nicholls, Nov 12, 2001.

  1. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    I was wondering if the expression "torch song" and perhaps "carrying a torch" came from the film Alexander Nevsky. After the battle on the ice, Olga goes looking for her beaux at twilight literally carrying a torch. What she sings is a torch song in both senses of the expression. Is this the source of the expression? Frustrated etymologists want to know.
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  2. Hendrik

    Hendrik Supporting Actor

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    ...according to my Collins English Dictionary - Millennium Edition - the expression torch song ("a sentimental or romantic popular song, usually sung by a woman") comes from the phrase "to carry a torch for (someone)"...
    ...what the lady in Aleksander Nevsky sings, however, is hardly that - in the specific context of that film it's a dirge: a chant of lamentation for the dead...
    . . . [​IMG] . . .
     
  3. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    I don't know about that Hendrik. The lyrics of "The Field of the Dead" are a "sentimental song about unrequited love" which is one definition of a torch song:
    "Whoever died a good death for Russia
    I shall kiss upon his dead eyes
    And to that young man who remained alive
    I shal be a faithful wife, a loving spouse
    I shall not marry a handsome man
    earthly beauty comes to an end
    But I shall wed a brave man
    Cry out in answer, bright falcons!"
     

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