Carnegie Hall (1947)

135 mins | Drama | 8 August 1947

Director:

Edgar G. Ulmer

Writer:

Karl Kamb

Cinematographer:

William Miller

Production Designer:

Max Rée

Production Company:

Federal Films, Inc.
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HISTORY

The opening credits note that the film was "Produced and Photographed in Carnegie Hall, New York City." Max Rée's onscreen credit reads: "Art director and costumer designer." Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (spelled Tschaikowski in the onscreen credits) conducted the New York Society Symphony Orchestra for the 1891 opening of Carnegie Hall. As depicted in the film, German-born Walter Damrosch was the musical director and the conductor of the New York Society Symphony between 1903 and 1927, as well as a pianist and composer. Olin Downes, who plays himself in the picture, was the music critic for NYT .
       Carnegie Hall was the first production of Federal Films, a company formed by producers Boris Morros and William LeBaron. According to an Apr 1944 HR news item, Carnegie Hall was initially planned as a Technicolor feature, with a budget of approximately $1,800,000. The same item announced that Ronald Colman was to star in the picture and Serge Koussevitzky, Arturo Toscanini and the Benny Goodman and Paul Whiteman orchestras were to perform. A Mar 1946 HR news item announced that the following additional artists were to perform in the film: José Iturbi, Vladimir Horowitz, John Charles Thomas, Lauritz Melchior, Mischa Elman, Victor Borge, Alec Templeton, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey and the Boston Symphony. None of these artists, however, appeared in the completed film. The Mar 1946 item also reported that Morros was going to Rome to photograph the Vatican Choir. The Choir was also listed in HR production charts, but they were not in the completed film has not been confirmed. Although HR production charts add ... More Less

The opening credits note that the film was "Produced and Photographed in Carnegie Hall, New York City." Max Rée's onscreen credit reads: "Art director and costumer designer." Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (spelled Tschaikowski in the onscreen credits) conducted the New York Society Symphony Orchestra for the 1891 opening of Carnegie Hall. As depicted in the film, German-born Walter Damrosch was the musical director and the conductor of the New York Society Symphony between 1903 and 1927, as well as a pianist and composer. Olin Downes, who plays himself in the picture, was the music critic for NYT .
       Carnegie Hall was the first production of Federal Films, a company formed by producers Boris Morros and William LeBaron. According to an Apr 1944 HR news item, Carnegie Hall was initially planned as a Technicolor feature, with a budget of approximately $1,800,000. The same item announced that Ronald Colman was to star in the picture and Serge Koussevitzky, Arturo Toscanini and the Benny Goodman and Paul Whiteman orchestras were to perform. A Mar 1946 HR news item announced that the following additional artists were to perform in the film: José Iturbi, Vladimir Horowitz, John Charles Thomas, Lauritz Melchior, Mischa Elman, Victor Borge, Alec Templeton, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey and the Boston Symphony. None of these artists, however, appeared in the completed film. The Mar 1946 item also reported that Morros was going to Rome to photograph the Vatican Choir. The Choir was also listed in HR production charts, but they were not in the completed film has not been confirmed. Although HR production charts add Felix Bressart to the cast, he did not appear in the completed film. According to a 1946 Cue article, workmen cleaned and redecorated Carnegie Hall before shooting began so that it would look new for the scenes set in 1891. A May 1947 NYT item noted that a new screen made of Fiberglass, which was designed to eliminate most of the distortion of side viewing, was used commercially for the first time at the New York premiere of the film. According to HR , the New York premiere, which occurred in two theaters, benefitted the New York Foundling Hospital and the New York Philharmonic Symphony Pension Fund. According to a Mar 1947 HR news item, a partial 16mm print of the picture containing footage of Lily Pons, Risë Stevens, Ezio Pinza and other music stars was presented to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Carnegie Hall marked the first screen appearance of Ezio Pinza and the last film of actress Martha O'Driscoll, who retired from the screen shortly after the film was completed. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
8 Mar 1947.
---
Cue
5 Oct 46
pp. 13-14.
Daily Variety
27 Feb 1947.
---
Film Daily
28 Feb 47
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 44
pp. 1-2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 1946.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 46
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 46
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Feb 47
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 47
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 47
p. 9.
Independent Film Journal
17 Aug 46
p. 39.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Mar 1947.
---
New York Times
3 May 47
p. 10.
New York Times
11 May 1947.
---
Variety
5 Mar 47
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
WRITERS
Scr
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Orch mgr
Piano rec
Piano rec
Piano rec
Piano rec
Piano rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
SOURCES
MUSIC
"57th Street Rhapsody" by Mischa and Wesley Portnoff
"Brown Danube" by Hal Borne
Polonaise in A Flat, Opus 53 by Frédéric Chopin
+
MUSIC
"57th Street Rhapsody" by Mischa and Wesley Portnoff
"Brown Danube" by Hal Borne
Polonaise in A Flat, Opus 53 by Frédéric Chopin
"Ritual Fire Dance" by Manuel de Falla
Selections from the first and final movements of Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra in B Flat Minor, the first movement of the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major and the second movement from Symphony No. 5 in E Minor by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Prelude to Meistersinger von Nürnberg by Richard Wagner
"Wedding March" by Felix Mendelssohn
Final movement of Symphony No. 5 in C Minor by Ludwig van Beethoven
Selections from Quintet in E Flat Major by Robert Schumann
"The Swan" by Charles Camille Saint-Saëns
"Turning-Up" (Title Music) by Boris Morros and Gregory Stone.
+
SONGS
"The Bell Song" from the opera Lakmé , music by Léo Delibes, libretto by Edmond Gondinet and Philippe Gille
"Vocalise," Op. 34, No. 14, music and lyrics by Sergei Rachmaninoff
"Seguidilla" from the opera Carmen , music by Georges Bizet, libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
+
SONGS
"The Bell Song" from the opera Lakmé , music by Léo Delibes, libretto by Edmond Gondinet and Philippe Gille
"Vocalise," Op. 34, No. 14, music and lyrics by Sergei Rachmaninoff
"Seguidilla" from the opera Carmen , music by Georges Bizet, libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
"My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice" from the opera Samson and Delilah , music by Camille Saint-Saëns, libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire
"O sole mio," music by Edoardo di Capua, lyrics by Giovanni Capurro
"Champagne" aria from the opera Don Giovanni , music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Aria from the opera Simon Boccanegra , music by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
"Beware My Heart," music and lyrics by Sam Coslow
"Sometime We Will Meet Again," music and lyrics by Gregory Stone
"The Pleasure's All Mine," music and lyrics by Frank Reyerson and Wilton Moore.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
8 August 1947
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 2 May 1947
Production Date:
early August--mid October 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Federal Films, Inc.
Copyright Date:
8 August 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1140
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
135
Length(in feet):
12,126
Length(in reels):
16
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
12197
SYNOPSIS

Cleaning woman Nora Ryan, an Irish immigrant who works at New York's Carnegie Hall, loves music and revels in listening to the sounds around her. While other charwomen pay little heed to the great musicians who pass through their music hall, Nora tries to hear as many rehearsals as she can. One day, Nora witnesses an angry dispute between conductor Walter Damrosch and the temperamental pianist Tony Salerno. Though Tony unintentionally vents his anger at Nora as he storms out of the concert hall, he later apologizes to her and listens as she tells the story of how, as a child, she came to America and "found heaven" in the just-built Carnegie Hall. She also reveals how she came to adore Damrosch, who allowed her to watch Peter Tschaikowski conducting one night. Tony falls instantly in love with Nora, and the two make a date for the following evening. Nora and Tony eventually marry and have a young son, whom they name Tony Salerno, Jr. The marriage ends tragically, however, when Nora's husband falls down a flight of stairs and dies. In the years that follow, Nora gets a better-paying job and prepares her son for a career as a great concert pianist. Believing that the best way to acquire an appreciation for music is to spend time in a great concert hall, Nora takes Tony, Jr. to Carnegie Hall to attend as many concerts as possible. Nora's interest in her son's lessons grows with time, and she eventually moves to the residence quarters of Carnegie Hall. There, Nora monitors her son's every move and worries that Tony, Jr. will injure his hands playing with other children. One day, ... +


Cleaning woman Nora Ryan, an Irish immigrant who works at New York's Carnegie Hall, loves music and revels in listening to the sounds around her. While other charwomen pay little heed to the great musicians who pass through their music hall, Nora tries to hear as many rehearsals as she can. One day, Nora witnesses an angry dispute between conductor Walter Damrosch and the temperamental pianist Tony Salerno. Though Tony unintentionally vents his anger at Nora as he storms out of the concert hall, he later apologizes to her and listens as she tells the story of how, as a child, she came to America and "found heaven" in the just-built Carnegie Hall. She also reveals how she came to adore Damrosch, who allowed her to watch Peter Tschaikowski conducting one night. Tony falls instantly in love with Nora, and the two make a date for the following evening. Nora and Tony eventually marry and have a young son, whom they name Tony Salerno, Jr. The marriage ends tragically, however, when Nora's husband falls down a flight of stairs and dies. In the years that follow, Nora gets a better-paying job and prepares her son for a career as a great concert pianist. Believing that the best way to acquire an appreciation for music is to spend time in a great concert hall, Nora takes Tony, Jr. to Carnegie Hall to attend as many concerts as possible. Nora's interest in her son's lessons grows with time, and she eventually moves to the residence quarters of Carnegie Hall. There, Nora monitors her son's every move and worries that Tony, Jr. will injure his hands playing with other children. One day, when Nora hears her son playing a jazz tune on the piano, she becomes upset and tries to guide him away from the sounds of "Tin Pan Alley." Tony, Jr., however, falls in love with band singer Ruth Haines, and strikes up a friendship with Vaughn Monroe, the band's leader. Much to the dismay of his mother, Tony, Jr. accepts an invitation to tour with the band, and in an ensuing argument, Tony, Jr. accuses Nora of selfishness. He then leaves his mother, severing all ties with her, and marries Ruth. Years pass, and while Tony, Jr. becomes a success, his marriage to Ruth deteriorates. Hoping to repair their marriage, Ruth visits Nora and asks her for advice about her son. After telling Ruth to swallow her pride and return to Tony, Nora has her friend, John Donovan, buy two airplane tickets to Chicago for them. Instead of buying the tickets, though, John surprises Nora and Ruth by taking them to Carnegie Hall to be present for Tony's concert debut. Nora watches with pride as her son performs his own composition for an appreciative audience. +

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.