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A concert pianist has lost his memory, the result of his being arrested and tortured by the Nazis during the war for playing a banned song. He journeys to the island of Guadelupe to try to regain his memory and his health. Written by
This film was produced by Ripley-Monter Productions, with the intended release by Producer's Releasing Corporation (which was not the production company nor the 'producer',) but it was bought by United Artists, who was unable to meet their promise of releasing a specified number of films for the 1943-44 production season. In the same year, United Artists purchased many films from other companies, including eight or more from Paramount. See more »
War tragedy of operatic proportions- haunted and haunting
The extremely rare film, A VOICE IN THE WIND, cries out to be transformed into a modern opera. If only Korngold had gotten his hands on it. It is a war tragedy played out in sombre tones, dealing with a group of Czechs who have escaped Europe during WWII, only to be cast up on the shores of Guadalupe, at the mercy of ship owners who take their money and promise delivery to America, but murder them at sea. The star-crossed lovers are pianist, Jan Volny, and Marya. We see in flashback how he defied Nazi orders and played Smetana's forbidden tone poem, THE MOLDAU, over Czech radio, resulting in his capture and torture. The ironic thing is that Jan is now a wide-eyed, crazed sailor (depressive psychosis, we are told), wandering around the village of Guadalupe, unaware that Marya is dying in one of the homes. His absently playing upon the bar piano draws her to him but she collapses and he still doesn't recognize her. The villains, ship owner brothers, Luigi and Angelo, suspect their ship has been set fire to and sunk by the "madman" El Hombre, the name they have attached to Volny, and one of them sets out to destroy him, against his brother's wishes. In the end all of the principles are dead in a sort of TRISTAN/HAMLET ending.
Francis Lederer is mesmerizing and unforgettable as the mute crazed El Hombre (five o'clock shadow, staring eyes and extraordinarily handsome face). Ironically, in the flashbacks as Volny, he is bland and completely forgettable. Almost like seeing two different actors. The rest of the cast is acceptable with good supporting bite from Alexander Granach and J. Carrol Naish as the villains.
The excellent Sound and the fine Scoring of Michel Michelet were deservedly nominated for Oscars, the latter a blend of Smetana and original composition that often carries the film in weakly directed or acted scenes.
An odd little film, not for everyone, but rather haunting and unforgettable.
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