The Appeal of Old Movies – Carnegie Hall

April 30, 2009

While channel surfing the other night I stumbled across an amazing 1947 film on TCM entitled Carnegie Hall. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039244/fullcredits#cast . The movie itself, largely forgettable, (clearly forgotten in fact), centers on a contrived love story set in and around the famed concert hall. I was initially drawn in by the obviously authentic location shooting, interiors and many exterior shots of that neighborhood in which I used to work. Most remarkable though were the cameo appearances of many 20th century classical music titans: Jascha Heifetz, Artur Rubinstein, Lily Pons, Leopold Stokowski, and Jan Peerce just to name a few. Some overacted in the roles of themselves as eccentric artists, but most simply performed; long, extended, non-sound bite, montage free performances. How much has changed in 60 years. That a movie like this could get made, that a small constellation of classical music stars familiar to the general public even existed, and that their simple one or two stationary camera performances could be considered visually engaging is touchstone of aesthetics long gone. I won’t lament too much though. No doubt the appeal, for better or worse, of many performers who routinely take the stage here will astound the audiences of 2069.


-Andrew Fishman, Director of Programming

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/.

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