A boy from the streets of New York finds music tickets to a Heifetz concert, which rekindles his earlier interest in the violin. He subsequently runs away from home and happens across a music school for children (played by members of the Peter Meremblum California Youth Symphony Orchestra). He is taken in by kindly Professor Lawson, the head of the school and resumes violin study while sleeping in the basement of the school. Despite the best efforts of Peter and Ann to raise money, the school is about to be foreclosed upon by Flower and associates. The kids in the school, led by Frankie, try to raise money themselves, and run across Heifetz in the process. After many more well-trodden cinematic paths have been navigated, Heifetz finally is convinced to sponsor the school. Written by
The tall violinist in scenes with the California Junior Symphony Orchestra standing at the far end was Raymond D. Bowman, a child prodigy from Long Beach, who was 21 at the time. In two more years he would be in the Army and survive the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. In the 1950s he was one of the first members of the "Pearl Harbor Survivors Association" and was a classical music critic for many years for the South Bay (CA) Daily Breeze in Redondo Beach. See more »
The movie was spliced together from many takes, so there are numerous continuity holes, especially during the performaces. See more »
I think Samuel Goldwyn was trying to accomplish two things in this film. First the film is a homage to Jascha Heifetz, considered to be the best violin virtuoso of the past century. Secondly having brought to the screen the Dead End kids with his film of the same title and seeing them sign with Warner Brothers, he was trying to create a second gang of appealing urchins.
Though the film was good there certainly was no demand that the kids from this film be reteamed for another feature.
Leader of the gang is Gene Reynolds who at one time played the violin, but now leads a street gang of disreputable urchins. His stepfather, Arthur Hohl, breaks the violin his late father gave young Reynolds and threatens to send him to reform school over the feeble protests of his mother Marjorie Main.
Young Reynolds happens to stumble onto a music school run by the old music maestro himself, Walter Brennan and his daughter Andrea Leeds. They take him in, but they have their financial problems with a lot of creditors led by Porter Hall.
This film is mostly to be seen today because it's a chance for classical music lovers to see and hear Jascha Heifetz who as you gather is the solution one way or another to everybody's problems. Joel McCrea is in this film also, but has a rather colorless part as Andrea Leeds boyfriend.
Besides Heifetz, one thing the film does do is touch on, albeit gingerly on the topic of child abuse and battered spouses. Arthur Hohl is one mean man and Marjorie Main is very clearly a much battered wife.
The kids in the cast do well, Reynolds, Tommy Kelly, Terry Kilburn and a young girl under the name of Jacqueline Nash who grew up and performed as Gale Sherwood, nightclub partner to Nelson Eddy. She had a nice soprano even as a child.
But it's Heifetz you see the show for.
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