Moonlight Sonata

Overview

Shortly before his desultory political career, famed Polish concert pianist Jan Paderewski starred as himself in the British romantic drama Moonlight Sonata. The bulk of the film is set in Sweden, where Eric Molander Charles Farrell professes his love for beautiful young baroness Lindenborg Marie Tempest. Nearby, a plane carrying Paderewski and several other passengers is forced to land due to bad weather. The travelers take refuge on Lindenborg's estate; one of them, worldly Mario de la Costa Eric Portman, ...
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Overview

Shortly before his desultory political career, famed Polish concert pianist Jan Paderewski starred as himself in the British romantic drama Moonlight Sonata. The bulk of the film is set in Sweden, where Eric Molander Charles Farrell professes his love for beautiful young baroness Lindenborg Marie Tempest. Nearby, a plane carrying Paderewski and several other passengers is forced to land due to bad weather. The travelers take refuge on Lindenborg's estate; one of them, worldly Mario de la Costa Eric Portman, sweeps Lindenborg off her feet. With Paderewski's implicit assistance, Molander proves that de la Costa is a fortune hunter, paving the way for a fade-out clinch for the hero and heroine. In addition to the title song, we are treated to such Paderewski "standards" as Chopin's "Polonaise" and the pianist's own composition "Minuet in G Major."
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
To today's audiences, Moonlight Sonata might seem like a bit of a strange film. After all, what modern film would open with a 15-minute piano concert, let alone include two other piano interludes? It's not just Moonlight's willingness to let things come to a cinematic halt that seems odd today; the film also has a plot that is extremely familiar to audiences raised on films and television. In addition, the way that the brilliant pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski is shoehorned into the film is a bit strange. Yet despite all these odd characteristics, Moonlight is a surprisingly engaging and affecting film. Part of its appeal comes from hearing Paderewski, whose singular talent will mesmerize those who appreciate classical music. Director Lothar Mendes has also done a very good job of presenting the concert pieces in a manner that gives them some life. For example, he lets his camera roam around the very odd concert hall during the opening segment, taking in the unusual audience arrangement, the architectural curves, and the glorious pristine whiteness of the set. During the finale performance of the title piece, he lets cinematographer Jan Stallich employ some interesting angles as Barbara Greene wanders to her destiny. Mendes also firmly believes in the trite story that forms the bulk of the film's narrative, and his belief elevates the tale. While Paderewski is no great actor, he acquits himself acceptably when called upon to participate in the story. The rest of the cast is much better, with Charles Farrell stalwart and honest, Marie Tempest amusing yet lovingly imperious, and Greene winningly naïve and headstrong. Moonlight's flaws should keep it from being such a good film, but the director and cast's dedication to the material work wonders with it instead.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/9/2005
  • UPC: 789984002469
  • Original Release: 1937
  • Rating:

  • Source: Bel Canto Society
  • Region Code: 0
  • Time: 1:26:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ignace Jan Paderewski Himself
Charles Farrell Eric Molander
Marie Tempest Baroness Lindenborg
Barbara Greene Ingrid
Eric Portman Mario de la Costa
Graham Browne Dr. Broman
Queenie Leonard Margit, His Niece
Lawrence Hanray Bishop
J. Fisher White Club Member
H.G. Stoker Club Member
Bryan Powley Nils the Butler
Sybil Brooke Anna the Housekeeper
Binkie Stuart Child
Technical Credits
Lothar Mendes Director, Producer
Philip Charlot Editor
E.M. Delafield Screenwriter
Edward Knoblock Screenwriter
Hans Rameau Original Story
Jan Stallich Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Paderewski: Moonlight Sonata
2. Heroic Polonaise (Chopin) [8:18]
3. Hungarian Rhapsody (Liszt) [11:30]
4. Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven) [29:35]
5. Minuet in G (Paderewski) [29:53]
6. Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven) [5:40]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Paderewski: Moonlight Sonata
   Play Program
   Chapter Menus
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