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A mother (Marsha Hunt) wants her son (William Prince) to grow up to be a pianist good enough to play at Carnegie Hall but, when grown, the son prefers to play with Vaughan Monroe's orchestra. But Mama's wishes prevail and the son appears at Carnegie Hall as the composer-conductor-pianist of a modern horn concerto, with Harry James as the soloist. Frank McHugh is along as a Carnegie Hall porter and doorman, and Martha O'Driscoll is a singer who provides the love interest for Prince. Meanwhile and between while a brigade of classical music names from the 1940's (and earlier and later)appear; the conductors Walter Damrosch, Bruno Walter, Artur Rodzinski, Fritz Reiner and Leopold Stokowski; singers Rise Stevens, Lily Pons, Jan Peerce and Ezio Pinza, plus pianist Arthur Rubinstein, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and violinist Jascha Heifetz. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Johns arrives on stage for rehearsal and is introduced to Ruth who is standing opposite of him with the piano in between. Close up of Ruth's face shows her looking to her left as she speaks to John who is center to her. See more »
What a pleasure it is to review the 1947 "Carnegie Hall," with its wealth of legendary classical artists performing in lengthy segments. Many of these artists have rarely been photographed in such a clear manner, and it is indeed a treat to have so many in one film.
"Carnegie Hall" contains some 75 minutes of footage featuring these artists, with many works and movements uncut. How rare it is to see and hear such artists as Lily Pons and Ezio Pinza preserved for all time. These, plus many instrumental soloists and orchestras perform brilliantly in beautiful black and white photography.
Alas, surrounding these musical segments is a very tepid dramatic yarn, which often is not well blended into the musical sequences. In fact, at one point the drama seems to come to a scretching halt, to make way for the music.
Further, the camera work during the first part is rather unimaginative and static. It does get better as the film progresses and, by the end, sequences of Heifitz and Stokowski contain some fluid and interesting shots.
While it could have been better, "Carnegie Hall" is a real curio from an era which boasted true musical giants. The restored print is crisp and clear, and the sets are nicely lit, reminding one of the beauty of black and white production.
It's worth enduring the story to get to the great music and magnificent artists, all honoring that fine structure at West 57th Street and Seventh Avenue in New York. ###
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