Thursday, May 17, 2012
They Shall Have Music(1939). A musical film starring violinist Jascha Heifetz (as himself), Joel McCrea, Andrea Leeds and Gene Reynolds.
The story begins when a boy from the slums named Frankie, life is changed when hears a performance by violinist Jascha Heifetz.
Inspired by the maestro, Frankie goes back to playing his violin, that his late father had taught him to play.
After his stepfather smashes the violin he threatens to send Frankie to reform school, Frankie runs away from home and joins up with a music school for underprivileged children run by Professor Lawson and his daughter Ann. Impressed by Frankie's talent, the professor takes him in.
Unknown to the Professor, the school is threatened by Flower, who insists that the school charge tuition or will be shut it down. When Frankie overhears Ann and Peter McCarthy, discussing the schools financial problems, he and the other children perform on the street.
After hearing the children play, Heifetz shows an interest in the school and Peter, tells them that Heifetz will perform at the children's concert. On the evening of the performance, Flower learns that Peter was lying and sends his men to repossess the instruments. Will Peter and Frankie find Heifetz, in time to perform with the children and save the school?
Fun Fact: One of the few films in which conductor Alfred Newman actually makes an on-screen appearance.
This film is truly a heart warming, story about poor but musically gifted children fighting to keep their music school open. Gene Reynolds, plays the young boy who's transformed by his love for the violin at a school which becomes the first real family. The performances by the musically gifted children and Heifetz are amazing. The cast including Joel McCrea, Andea Leeds and Walter Brennan make this film a true a treasure.
Full length movie:
Heifetz performed in the movie, They Shall Have Music (1939) directed by Archie Mayo and written by John Howard Lawson and Irmgard von Cube. He played himself, stepping in to save a music school for poor children from foreclosure. He later appeared in the 1947 film, Carnegie Hall, performing an abridged version of the first movement of Tchaikovsky's violin concerto, with the orchestra led by Fritz Reiner, and consoling the star of the picture, who had watched his performance. Heifetz later recorded the complete Tchaikovsky concerto with Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as one of RCA Victor's "Living Stereo" discs. In 1951, he appeared in the film Of Men and Music. In 1962. he appeared in a televised series of his master classes, and, in 1971, Heifetz on Television aired, an hour-long color special that featured the violinist performing a series of short works, the "Scottish Fantasy" by Max Bruch, and the Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 by Bach. Heifetz even conducted the orchestra, as the surviving video recording documents. The most recent film featuring Heifetz, Jascha Heifetz: God's Fiddler, premiered on April 16, 2011 at the Colburn School of Music. It is "The only film biography of the world's most renowned violinist, featuring family home movies in Los Angeles and all over the world "