Friday, 4 October 2013

The Magic Bow (1946)

Stewart Granger

When I sat down to watch this film, I was unconvinced that the world had ever really needed a Nicolo Paganini biopic. Now that I've seen it, I'm still not sure.
Was it a comedy? A drama? A serious study of a musician and his demons?
Phyllis Calvert & Stewart Granger
Or was it simply another chance for Gainsborough studios to let Stewart Granger, Phyllis Calvert and Jean Kent get out on set and have some fun? I suspect the latter. I mean, this was released in 1946. Did someone at Gainsborough sit down and think: War's over, let's let some culture loose on the world.
Ok, that's the negativity over with, let's get onto the good points:
1) Stewart Granger's hair is good for a laugh:
Stewart Granger

2) The relationship between Paganini and his manager (played by Cecil Parker): They are an odd couple who play it like a 'buddy movie'
Cecil Parker & Stewart Granger

Jean Kent, Cecil Parker & Stewart Granger
3) There are some good lines: At one point Paganini announces "I admire virtue in others." He dismisses other violinists with the line: "anyone who can in play in time and wear  a clean collar can lead an orchestra."  Paganini sums up the sense of the tortured genius with the words: "Poverty is a burden shared by many. Success must be carried alone."
There is a splendid line at one of his performances.... 
... when a woman turns to her neighbour and says: "Is he really in league with the devil?" her friend replies: "They say he is the devil."
Stewart Granger & Jean Kent
Anyone who has read this blog before might have guessed that at least one half of the blogging team is a bit of a fan of Jean Kent. So I was rather pleased with Granger's finest line of the film, telling her:
"You are a hussy, but a very nice hussy."
But my favourite line comes courtesy of Cecil parker. When he hears that Paganini is to be knighted by the Pope he exclaims: "I must be a better manager than I realised."
4) Oh, and did I mention Jean Kent's in it?
Jean Kent

Jean Kent

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