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The Voice of the Violin (1909)

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A music teacher is in love with Helen, one of his students, but she rejects him. In his anger he joins a communist group who plan to blow up a rich capitalist's house. When he realizes it's Helen's house, he tries to stop the plan.





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Credited cast:
Herr von Schmidt
Helen Walker
Mr. Walker
Communist Leader
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
At Party Meeting
Clara T. Bracy
At Party Meeting
At Party Meeting
Anita Hendrie ...
At Party Meeting / Servant
At Party Meeting


The romance of a poor German music teacher. Herr Von Schmitt, a young musician, comes to this country from Germany, and ekes a living teaching violin. At home he has become imbued with the doctrines of Karl Marx, the promoter of the communistic principles of socialism, the alleged Utopian scheme of universal co-operation, which in time, and under the control of intemperate minds becomes absolute anarchy. Von Schmitt, however, succeeding in a moderate degree to procure comfort by his art, is gradually being weaned from his former covetous spirit, and turns a deaf ear to the persuasive arguments of his former companions. Among his pupils is Miss Helen Walker, the daughter of a wealthy capitalist. A strong friendship springs up between teacher and pupil, which ripens into love before they are aware of it. Von Schmitt, unable to restrain himself any longer, during a lesson at his studio declares his love, and is, of course, owing to the disparity of rank, spurned. Enraged by the seemingly... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Release Date:

18 March 1909 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

"No high, no low"
20 June 2008 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

This early Biograph short is a pretty unremarkable entry in DW Griffith's early career. While he would make some important breakthroughs in mid-1909, at this point there was really very little that distinguished him from anyone else in the industry at the time.

Voice of the Violin begins fairly well, with an extremely long take that sets up the protagonist and the romantic angle. There's also a little comedic touch with the violin rehearsal that never gets started thanks to an interfering maid. However, when the main action of the story really begins, it becomes incredibly dull just when it should be getting interesting. The bomb plot sequence is static and uninspired. The trouble is, while long takes are excellent for drama, Griffith had yet to realise the potential of the editing process in creating exciting, suspenseful action scenes.

This early in his career, Griffith was still little more than a stage director with a camera. I suspect, though I don't know for certain, that Voice of the Violin was based on a play. It has a neat full-circle storyline, which would later be a hallmark of Griffith pictures, but it just doesn't move the way his later work would.

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