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Moonlight Sonata (February, 1955)

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Ignacy Jan Paderewski

Released on February 11, 1937: A story about, and featuring the most famous pianist of the twentieth century, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, who tells the story of .

Directed by Lothar Mendes

The Actors: Ignacy Jan Paderewski (himself), Charles Farrell (Eric Molander), Marie Tempest (Baroness Lindenborg), Barbara Greene (Ingrid Hansen), Eric Portman (Mario de la Costa), W. Graham Brown (Doctor Kurt Broman), Queenie Leonard (margit), Laurence Hanray (Mr. Bishop), Binkie Stuart (Eric and Ingrid's child), Brian Powley (Nils), Sybil Brooke (Anna), H.G. Stoker (club member), J. Fisher White (club member).


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Can you play an instrument? Maybe piano, or guitar, or harp, or something? Papa was a preacher, and mom could play piano expertly, either with or without a music score in front of her. I have five older sisters, and I think that mom taught every one of them to play piano. My sister Esther could play classic compositions with ease and grace. My sister Vivian taught piano, organ and accordion for many years. I can remember in the mid 1960's when she told the family about an experience with one of her talented students. This student wanted to be a composer, and created what she thought might become a famous hit, and because of Vivian's superior playing talent, wanted Viv to play the composition on a recording that was sent to a producer for his opinion and hopefully help in promoting the piece. The producer answered back that he wasn't interested in the composition, but whoever had played it could have an immediate job playing organ for daytime soap operas if she wanted it. Viv was happy with her nuclear family and never considered the offer, but was terribly proud of it. Me? I'm the proverbial fellow who even has trouble playing the radio (old joke). In high school the orchestra needed more violins, so the music teacher suggested to my parents that I should get involved in music and learn the violin. I was young and quite stupid . . . er . . . I mean 'naive' . . . and started taking violin lessons. From early on I learned to hate the violin . . . it was torture to practice, and I could find absolutely no joy in any part of it. But despite my protestations, my lessons continued for much longer than they should have. They finally gave up and I was free from the drudgery of pursuing a skill that I had no desire for. In hindsight, after I was an adult I often secretly thought that I might have liked playing piano, but mom never got the urge to teach me. I did hang around while my sister Carol was practicing, and she taught me how to play a couple of simple songs like chopsticks, and one called, as I remember, Snug as a Bug in a Rug. Good times, good memories . . . Carol and I on the piano bench hitting the ivories. Anyway, even though I never learned to play the piano, I really enjoy good piano music, and this movie provides some outstanding music from a renowned pianist, with a light romantic drama woven into the script.

Ignacy Jan Paderewski was a Prime Minister of Poland. Paderewski was also a world class pianist. In fact, he is considered the best popular pianist of the twentieth century. Paderewski has a coveted star on the Hollywood walk of fame. He died in 1940 at the age of 80, but thankfully for us, three years earlier he was persuaded to act and play piano in a movie about a young girl that must decide between the love of two men. During the first twenty minutes we are treated with a short piano concert where Paderewski tickles the ivories in an expert way, causing our ears to be delighted beyond compare. You will enjoy the works of a legendary pianist, a delightful and complex love story, and hopefully you also have a bowl of hot buttered white kernel popcorn to munch on while enjoying this amazing piece of history and drama.

Paderewski in Moonlight SonataBarbara Green and Eric Portman in Moonlight Sonata
Ignacy Jan PaderewskiBarbara Greene and Eric Portman
Ignacy Jan PaderewskiBarbara Greene and Charles Farrell in Moonlight Sonata
Ignacy Jan PaderewskiBarbara Greene and Charles Farrell