Playing the Harp in Movies

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    The movie about the music store with Judy Garland, Van Johnson, and S.C.Szakal (sp). Pretty sure there was at least one pedal harp in it. I think Spring Byington “played” it.


    In the 18th century period pieces like Persuasion or Dangerous Liasons, I usually find that the harp in the scene is a make and model that didn’t exist at the time of the action. Usually they show a Grecian Erard, occasionally a Gothic. The Grecian didn’t exist before 1810 or so, and the Gothic not before the 1830’s. In the burning of Atlanta sequence from Gone with the Wind, there is a harp sticking out the top of a wagon full of furniture. It’s a Lyon & Healy 15, which did not exist before 1915 or so.


    Dangerous Liasons has a scroll topped single action harp (Naderman, maybe?) that appears in many movies where Bertille Fournier is the harp consultant.

    BTW, Carl, the harp in the cart is a 21 isn’t it? At least in the birthday party scene the harpist is playing an Erard Gothic.

    David, if you’re around, do you know who the onscreen harpist is in GWTW?

    Cheryl Z.

    Thanks Barbara for letting me know David’s name.


    No idea. At the time Max Steiner was married to a harpist, Louise Steiner Elian, and she always said she did the score sessions.

    Cheryl Z.

    Maybe it was.


    On TV: “Charmed” repeatedly has a harp in the background, but usually in the underworld (more

    David Ice

    Hi Cheryl,

    It was Ann Stockton.


    Alas, I wont be playing for “American Primative.”


    Thanks for the clarfication, David. Do you happen to know who that is in the Ashley’s birthday party scene?

    Cheryl Z.

    Hi David,

    Kathleen Clark

    One of my favorite “harp” movies is “Valmont.” Henry Thomas plays
    Fairuza Balk’s harp teacher and they pass love notes back and forth
    hidden in their harps. Poor Fairuza has to sing and play the harp at a
    gathering in front of her intended aged betrothal (Jeffery Jones) and
    the conniving Annette Benning gets involved with Fairuza and Henry so
    there is harp huffing when Henry gets fired and has to pack up his harp
    and get out of Dodge. Annette sets up a tryst for them, but they are so
    young they don’t know what to do, so they act like the kids they are
    and end up harping around. So the harp is a supporting character and I
    always get a kick out of watching that film. I haven’t even mentioned
    Colin Firth who plays Valmont. I’m too busy watching all the harp
    antics. Poor Henry wandering the streets with harp in hand. Too bad no
    one told Henry and Fairuza “thumbs up!” with all the dual harping going
    on between them. Especially since he is a harp teacher.


    I’ve been gone for a while .. but I’m back.

    You don’t actually see the harp in S&S but you hear it playing in a
    coffe house when John & Fanny (and Robert Ferrars) decide to have
    Lucy Steele stay with them instead of Maryanne.


    What about the wonderful “David Copperfield” by BBC? Rosa Dartle plays the harp for Steerforth.

    Seemed to me she was actually playing but I’d like an expert opinion. :-)


    Henry Thomas is from San Antonio – Laurie Buchanan here in San Antonio coached him to synch his fingers to the music when they shot the harp playing scenes for “Valmont”

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