Voice in the Wind (1944)

84-85 mins | Drama | 10 March 1944

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Strange Music . Art director Rudi Feld's name was misspelled in the opening credits as "Rudy." An Apr 1943 HR news item notes that producers Arthur Ripley and Rudolph Monter tried to borrow Akim Tamiroff from Paramount to appear in this picture. According to a NYT news item, Ripley and Monter originally contracted with Producers Releasing Corp. to release the picture, which was shot at the Talisman studio in eleven days, using no retakes. The producers then spent three-and-a-half months in the editing room, presenting a final cut without sound effects or music. When PRC judged the film "too arty," the company sold the rights to United Artists, which then put up the financing to complete the picture. Voice in the Wind was Ripley's and Monter's first and only production, and was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Sound Recording and Best Score. According to a May 1944 HR news item, author May Davies Martenet filed a motion to restrain United Artists from distributing the film on the grounds that the title and theme were stolen from a novelette that she published in 1942. In Jun 1944, a judge denied her motion. According to an Aug 1944 HR news item, screenwriter Jack DeWitt sued the producers, claiming that the film was based on several articles he wrote. According to HR news items, the suit was settled out of court. DeWitt got 10% of the net ... More Less

The working title of this film was Strange Music . Art director Rudi Feld's name was misspelled in the opening credits as "Rudy." An Apr 1943 HR news item notes that producers Arthur Ripley and Rudolph Monter tried to borrow Akim Tamiroff from Paramount to appear in this picture. According to a NYT news item, Ripley and Monter originally contracted with Producers Releasing Corp. to release the picture, which was shot at the Talisman studio in eleven days, using no retakes. The producers then spent three-and-a-half months in the editing room, presenting a final cut without sound effects or music. When PRC judged the film "too arty," the company sold the rights to United Artists, which then put up the financing to complete the picture. Voice in the Wind was Ripley's and Monter's first and only production, and was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Sound Recording and Best Score. According to a May 1944 HR news item, author May Davies Martenet filed a motion to restrain United Artists from distributing the film on the grounds that the title and theme were stolen from a novelette that she published in 1942. In Jun 1944, a judge denied her motion. According to an Aug 1944 HR news item, screenwriter Jack DeWitt sued the producers, claiming that the film was based on several articles he wrote. According to HR news items, the suit was settled out of court. DeWitt got 10% of the net gross. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11 Mar 1944.
---
Daily Variety
1 Mar 44
p. 3.
Daily Variety
24 Aug 1944.
---
Down Beat
15 May 44
p. 7.
Film Daily
3 Mar 44
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Apr 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 43
p. 10
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 44
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 44
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 44
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 44
p. 1.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Mar 44
p. 1782.
New York Times
19 Mar 1944.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Adpt from an orig story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Miniatures and spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Tech adv
STAND INS
Piano double for "The Moldau"
Piano double
Piano double
SOURCES
MUSIC
"The Moldau" by Bedrich Smetana.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Strange Music
Release Date:
10 March 1944
Production Date:
21 May 1943--early June 1943 at Talisman Studio
Copyright Claimant:
Arthur Ripley-Rudolph Monter Productions
Copyright Date:
14 December 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12511
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
84-85
Length(in feet):
7,852
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9427
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

To the melancholy island of Guadalupe come a band of refugees, stripped of their friends and their country by the war. Among them dwells a brooding, sinister man known only as "El Hombre," whose memory was destroyed by the brutality of the Nazis. One evening, as El Hombre sits trance-like at the piano and plays a somber melody, his music drifts into the room inhabited by other refugees, Dr. Hoffman, his wife Anna, and their invalid charge, Marya Volny. El Hombre's playing reminds Anna of Jan Volny, a famous pianist from her homeland of Czechoslovakia, and she bitterly reflects upon the life that they lost. After finishing the piece, El Hombre reads a notice from the governor, warning of the refugees about "murder boats" that will promise them asylum in the U.S., but will leave them to perish at sea after fleecing them of their savings. The demented El Hombre takes the warning as a sign to destroy the fishing boat owned by his compassionate employer Angelo. El Hombre's act infuriates Angelo's cruel brothers, Luigi and Marco, who loath the stranger and wish him dead. As Marya's condition worsens, Anna blames herself for forcing the girl to leave her homeland and recalls the conditions that drove them into exile: After invading Prague, the Nazis grant permission to Czech pianist Jan Volny to present a concert. They stipulate, however, that "The Moldau," a much-loved patriotic symphony written by Bedrich Smetana, be excluded from the concert. Carried away by the beauty of the music, Volny ends his concert with a four-minute paraphrase of the famed symphony. Realizing that his ... +


To the melancholy island of Guadalupe come a band of refugees, stripped of their friends and their country by the war. Among them dwells a brooding, sinister man known only as "El Hombre," whose memory was destroyed by the brutality of the Nazis. One evening, as El Hombre sits trance-like at the piano and plays a somber melody, his music drifts into the room inhabited by other refugees, Dr. Hoffman, his wife Anna, and their invalid charge, Marya Volny. El Hombre's playing reminds Anna of Jan Volny, a famous pianist from her homeland of Czechoslovakia, and she bitterly reflects upon the life that they lost. After finishing the piece, El Hombre reads a notice from the governor, warning of the refugees about "murder boats" that will promise them asylum in the U.S., but will leave them to perish at sea after fleecing them of their savings. The demented El Hombre takes the warning as a sign to destroy the fishing boat owned by his compassionate employer Angelo. El Hombre's act infuriates Angelo's cruel brothers, Luigi and Marco, who loath the stranger and wish him dead. As Marya's condition worsens, Anna blames herself for forcing the girl to leave her homeland and recalls the conditions that drove them into exile: After invading Prague, the Nazis grant permission to Czech pianist Jan Volny to present a concert. They stipulate, however, that "The Moldau," a much-loved patriotic symphony written by Bedrich Smetana, be excluded from the concert. Carried away by the beauty of the music, Volny ends his concert with a four-minute paraphrase of the famed symphony. Realizing that his act will draw the wrath of the Nazis and that his wife, Marya, will also suffer at the hands of their oppressors, Volny arranges for the Hoffmans to smuggle her out of the country, but before he can escape himself, he is captured and subjected to unspeakable violence, which deranges him. Enroute to a concentration camp, Volny overpowers his guards and escapes. After making his way to Lisbon, he hides on a fishing boat owned by Angelo and his brothers, which embarks shortly thereafter and carries him to the island of Guadalupe. In the fog of his unhinged brain, Volny fails to remember his own name and identity, and is thus dubbed El Hombre. As Anna's thoughts return to the present, Marya, enchanted by the sound of El Hombre's piano, rises from her bed, inches her way down the stairs and then collapses in the street. El Hombre finds her there, and as he fingers the crucifix encircling her neck, his memory begins to return. When the Hoffmans come looking for Marya, El Hombre retreats into the shadows. Later, he begins to recall snatches of his life with Marya, but his reverie is cruelly interrupted by Luigi's harsh voice challenging him. Moments later, from the street, Angelo hears gunshots, and hurrying to their source, he finds Luigi, gun in hand, standing over El Hombre's body. As the brothers argue, Luigi stabs Angelo with an ice pick. Noticing that El Hombre has vanished, the wounded Angelo follows a trail of blood into the street and up the stairs to Marya's room, where the Hoffmans are notifying the police of Marya's death. At her bedside, El Hombre cradles Marya's lifeless body in his arms, begging her to return to life. His entreaties echo the words spoken to him by Marya at the time of their separation in Czechoslovakia, affirming her certainty that he will one day come for her. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.