Broken Strings (1940)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Music  |  7 August 2003 (Switzerland)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 52 users  
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After noted violinist Arthur Williams suffers a hand injury which ends his playing career, his hopes are transferred to his son, who prefers swing music to classical.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sybil Lewis ...
William Washington ...
John 'Johnny' Williams
Tommie Moore ...
Mary (as Tommiwitta Moore)
Matthew 'Stymie' Beard ...
Dickey Morley (as Stymie Beard)
Pete Webster ...
Gus Herbert
Edward Thompson ...
Sam Stilton
Buck Woods ...
Fred Stilton
Darby Jones ...
Stringbeans Johnson
Jess Lee Brooks ...
Dr. Charles Matson
Earle Morris ...
Earl Wells (as Earl Morris)
Elliot Carpenter ...
Musician (as Alec Carpenter)
Charmaine Stevens ...
Chramaine Stevens
Cecile Stevens ...
Herself (The Stevens Sisters)
Leonetti Stevens ...
Herself (The Stevens Sisters)


Arthur Williams is a well-known violinist but he has an accident that injures his left-hand fingers and he can no longer play. Being a devotee of the classics, swing music grates his ears. His son, William, also has the soul of a true artist, and while he does well on classical music, his heart is into swing. Needing money, William, enters a contest in which he plans on playing classical music, but his violin has been tampered with by another contestant and when two of his violin strings break, he is forced to play swing. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music


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Release Date:

7 August 2003 (Switzerland)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Arthur Williams: My heart still belongs to the Masters, but look what swing has done for me!
See more »


Featured in Movies of Color: Black Southern Cinema (2002) See more »


Kentucky Babe
Music by Adam Geibel
Lyrics by Richard Buck
Danced to and sung by The Stevens Sisters
See more »

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User Reviews

An effective family drama with some good entertainment.
15 July 1999 | by (Pine Grove, California) – See all my reviews

Except for the hokey ending, I enjoyed this family drama which touched on the artificial dichotomy of classical music and swing or jazz. Clarence Muse is excellent as a concert violinist who lost the use of his left hand after an automobile accident, and is reduced to teaching for a living. His son, Walter Washington, plays the violin well, but prefers swing and jazz, which leads to conflicts because Muse doesn't consider those forms of music worthy of being played. There are good subplots too, involving Muse's daughter, nicely played by Sybil Lewis.

This being a "race" movie intended for black audiences, other musical entertainment was a must, and there are two items I enjoyed. The first had the young Stevens sisters (introducing themselves as Charmain, Cecile and Leonetti) sing and dance to a song called "Kentucky Babe." And the second was Darby Jones doing a rubberlegs kind of a dance that was excellent, especially since I knew him only from his playing African savages in two Tarzan movies and in Congo Maizie (1940). It took an all-black movie to demonstrate this talent.

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