Friday, August 19, 2011

Symphony of Living

Symphony of Living is a charmingly clumsy movie from 1935 about an aging violinist, Professor Grieg, who can no longer play, so he opens a teaching studio. His son uses his father's studio as a front for a get-rich-quick scheme, and the rest of his children treat him horribly. One day Professor Grieg's grandson (who he doesn't know is his grandson) comes for a lesson, and it turns out he's a terrific violinist. The movie is rich with violin playing and teaching, not to mention trombone teaching, and an unintentional building-wide jam session, along with boy students in knee pants and a gum-chewing student who takes her gum out of her mouth and puts it on the back of her violin.

[Carl's mother tells him, "You should give up music."]

[Professor Grieg in his studio, where nobody uses a shoulder rest.]

["My dog ate the top half of my music, so I could only play what was on the bottom of the page."]

[Carl plays the Bach Chaccone.]

[Professor Grieg and Carl find out that they are grandfather and grandson.]

[The film ends with a triumphant concert.]

The violinists in this movie (as well as the other musicians) do their own stunts. Young Carl is played by Lester Lee, which might have been the stage name for Ron Carver (but I can't find out anything about a violinist named Ron Carver).

[The other musicians in the building all unwittingly jam together (in separate studios) on "Melody in F."]

What are you waiting for? You can see the whole movie on line!


Gretchen Saathoff said...

I love the image of someone sticking chewing gum on the back of a violin! And the dog eating only the top half of the music? That belongs in a registry of student excuses somewhere.

Susan Scheid said...

What a fine old gem you've found here!

Susan S. said...

Love your writing! I came across it while searching for the real identity of the young violinist.

Susan S. said...

Love your writing! I came across your blog while searching for the identity of the child violinist.

Lovely "clumsy" film, too!

Unknown said...

Amazing. Thank you for this Article.

That kid in the movie... anointed !!! Lester Lee.