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Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall(1947)

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The opening credits note that the film was "Produced and Photographed in Carnegie Hall, New York City." Max Re's onscreen credit reads: "Art director and costumer designer." Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (spelled Tschaikowski in the onscreen credits) conducted the New York Society Symphony Orchestra for the 1891 opening of Carnegie Hall. As depicted in the film, German-born Walter Damrosch was the musical director and the conductor of the New York Society Symphony between 1903 and 1927, as well as a pianist and composer. Olin Downes, who plays himself in the picture, was the music critic for New York Times.
       Carnegie Hall was the first production of Federal Films, a company formed by producers Boris Morros and William LeBaron. According to an April 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item, Carnegie Hall was initially planned as a Technicolor feature, with a budget of approximately $1,800,000. The same item announced that Ronald Colman was to star in the picture and Serge Koussevitzky, Arturo Toscanini and the Benny Goodman and Paul Whiteman orchestras were to perform. A March 1946 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that the following additional artists were to perform in the film: Jos Iturbi, Vladimir Horowitz, John Charles Thomas, Lauritz Melchior, Mischa Elman, Victor Borge, Alec Templeton, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey and the Boston Symphony. None of these artists, however, appeared in the completed film. The March 1946 item also reported that Morros was going to Rome to photograph the Vatican Choir. The Choir was also listed in Hollywood Reporter production charts, but they were not in the completed film has not been confirmed. Although Hollywood Reporter production charts add Felix Bressart to the cast, he did not appear in the completed film. According to a 1946 Cue article, workmen cleaned and redecorated Carnegie Hall before shooting began so that it would look new for the scenes set in 1891. A May 1947 New York Times item noted that a new screen made of Fiberglass, which was designed to eliminate most of the distortion of side viewing, was used commercially for the first time at the New York premiere of the film. According to Hollywood Reporter, the New York premiere, which occurred in two theaters, benefitted the New York Foundling Hospital and the New York Philharmonic Symphony Pension Fund. According to a March 1947 Hollywood Reporter news item, a partial 16mm print of the picture containing footage of Lily Pons, Ris Stevens, Ezio Pinza and other music stars was presented to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Carnegie Hall marked the first screen appearance of Ezio Pinza and the last film of actress Martha O'Driscoll, who retired from the screen shortly after the film was completed.