Moonlight Sonata (1937)

Moonlight SonataMoonlight Sonata Poster
Directed by Lothar Mendes
Written by E.M. Delafield and Edward Knoblock from a story by Hans Rameau
Pall Mall Productions Ltd.

First viewing


There have been a few moments when I have known complete satisfaction, but only a few. I have rarely been free from the disturbing realization that my playing might have been better. — Ignacy Paderewski (1860 – 1941)

I enjoyed listening to the great Paderewski play the piano.  The story does not detract.

Pianist and statesman Ignacy Paderewski is en route to Paris when his plane breaks down and must make an emergency landing near a mansion in Sweden.  The mansion is occupied by the Baroness Lindenberg, her granddaughter Ingrid, and the overseer Eric (Charles Farrell).  The Baroness and her entourage are all great music lovers, Paderewski’s performance of the Moonlight Sonata having brought Ingrid’s deceased parents together.  It will be Ingrid’s 18th birthday at midnight and Eric tells her that he will ask her to marry him at that time.  Before this can happen, Ingrid becomes enamoured of charming scoundrel Mario de la Costa from Paderewski’s party.  Can Paderewski work his magic again?

Moonlight Sonata 1

There would be no reason to watch this film if it were not for the music.  However, easily the first 20-30 minutes consist purely of Paderewski playing at a concert.  Later, he plays a delightful little dance for some children and, of course, the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata.  Despite the sometimes iffy sound, this was enough for me to enjoy the film thoroughly.

Clip – Paderewski plays Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, 1st Movement


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