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Playing the Harp in Movies

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  • #111119
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Hehe Alice!

    #111120
    unknown-user
    Participant

    I think the actor that probably had the most fun part was David Bamber (Mr. Collins).

    #111121
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Haha!

    #111122

    I think what Lydia said in the film was “Lord; I feel so FAGGED [tired]; fetch me a glass of wine Denny!”

    #111123
    unknown-user
    Participant

    I do believe you are right!

    #111124
    unknown-user
    Participant

    My favorite scene is the confrontation between Lizzie and Lady Catherine.

    #111125
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Ha, I can go on and on about Pride and Predjudice!

    Yes, when Lizie runs into Darcy is a classic!

    #111126
    tony-morosco
    Member

    +++Incidentally, I have it on very good authority that in the Marx Brother’s movies, while you are watching Harpo play the harp, you are hearing Gail Laughton. If you watch carefully, it’s perfectly obvious that what Harpo is playing is not at all what you are hearing.+++

    Definitely incorrect. As a Marx Brothers fan who has all of their movies on VHS and starting on DVD now, and knowing a bit of Harpo’s history, I can tell you without any doubt that what you are hearing is Harpo play.

    Now I am sure that they recorded the sound track later, but it is Harpo. If you listen to his records you can hear his unique style clearly in the playing in the movie.

    As for not seeing what you are hearing… What movie is that? I have watched the Harpo playing scenes in most of the movies over and over, and it is clear he is playing what is being heard. In fact in some cases when we know he isn’t really playing a harp it is so close as to be amazing.

    For instance in one scene he is playing an Indian Loom, and another he smashes a piano and takes out the frame and starts playing the strings.

    Of course he is not playing a loom or a piano frame, but he fakes it perfectly so that what his hands are doing is perfectly matching the music.

    When he is really on a harp it is beyond a doubt clear that it is him playing.

    Besides, why would he not play it? There is no doubt he really did play, and rather well. He knew Mildred Dilling and many other musicians who knew him and respected him as a musician. He has at least two records still available that were produced by his son.

    He once intentionally drove Rachmaninov slightly over the edge when he lived next door to him by playing one of his pices over and over for hours at a time (he was anoyed that Rachmaninov was playing the piano too loud for him to practice the harp, and he had been living there in The Garden Of Allah near Palm Springs longer).

    No. That really is Harpo playing in the movies, and it is Harpo you hear on the sound tracks. What ever authority said it was not is blowing smoke. All you have to do is watch the movies to know that if it isn’t him it may as well be, because his playing is perfectly in sync with the music, and the music is in his unique style of playing. I doubt any producer would hire someone to try so hard to imitate Harpo’s playing style so closely rather than just have Harpo play it.

    #111127
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Dear Alice,

    There’s also a harp scene in a lesser-known Fred Astaire movie called “Yolanda and the Thief” (1945). Astaire plays a con man who poses as an angel to bilk the beautiful and wealthy Lucille Bremer out of her family fortune. She’s so naive that she believes him (and then begins to feel guilty about falling in love with him).

    It’s just as implausible as it sounds and the movie was/is considered a flop, but I’m obsessed enough with Astaire to enjoy it. It’s really colorfully directed by Vincente Minnelli, and has some great dancing, including a number that may be the very first of the “story ballets” for which MGM became famous.

    The harp number impresses me particularly because Fred Astaire obviously went to some trouble to look as if he really was playing. And I get to watch the graceful movement of those beautiful hands (sigh). The song isn’t great, but he sings it so tenderly. It doesn’t make a bit of sense for Johnny to make Yolanda fall in love with him at that moment–he’s pretty much gotten what he came for by that point–but how any woman could resist that performance is beyond me.

    I think Cary Grant also does a convincing job in his angelic turn in “The Bishop’s Wife” a couple of years later. But I am not a harpist, so let me know if I am wrong about these two debonair harpist imposters!

    Chris

    #111128
    karen-conoan
    Participant

    One respondent asked where the movie producers get their harps (used as props).

    #111129
    tony-morosco
    Member

    Actually it is not in the Schmidt?s’ house. It is in the house of Kathy Bates’ character. Apparently the addition of the harp was Bates’ idea. She had recently begun learning to play and thought it would add a nice touch to her character in the movie.

    #111130
    unknown-user
    Participant

    There’s also the scene in the first Harry Potter film, although it’s playing itself. I also had a friend who played the talking harp in a filmed Jack and the Beanstalk panto, but that probably doesn’t count.

    #111131
    S M
    Participant

    Someone plays a harp in “The Little Colonel” (a Shirley Temple movie) very near the beginning.

    #111132
    unknown-user
    Participant

    What about checking out Harry Potter the first movie – that’s the best one.

    #111133
    Jerusha Amado
    Participant

    Saul,

    You are right about a harpist appearing on the television show “Frasier”.

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