Voice in the Wind


1h 25m 1944
Voice in the Wind

Brief Synopsis

After being tortured by the Nazis, a concert pianist fights to recover his memory.

Film Details

Also Known As
Strange Music
Genre
Romance
Drama
War
Release Date
Mar 10, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Arthur Ripley-Rudolph Monter Productions
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,852ft

Synopsis

To the melancholy island of Guadalupe come a band of refugees, stripped of their friends and their country by the war. Among them dwells a brooding, sinister man known only as "El Hombre," whose memory was destroyed by the brutality of the Nazis. One evening, as El Hombre sits trance-like at the piano and plays a somber melody, his music drifts into the room inhabited by other refugees, Dr. Hoffman, his wife Anna, and their invalid charge, Marya Volny. El Hombre's playing reminds Anna of Jan Volny, a famous pianist from her homeland of Czechoslovakia, and she bitterly reflects upon the life that they lost. After finishing the piece, El Hombre reads a notice from the governor, warning of the refugees about "murder boats" that will promise them asylum in the U.S., but will leave them to perish at sea after fleecing them of their savings. The demented El Hombre takes the warning as a sign to destroy the fishing boat owned by his compassionate employer Angelo. El Hombre's act infuriates Angelo's cruel brothers, Luigi and Marco, who loath the stranger and wish him dead. As Marya's condition worsens, Anna blames herself for forcing the girl to leave her homeland and recalls the conditions that drove them into exile: After invading Prague, the Nazis grant permission to Czech pianist Jan Volny to present a concert. They stipulate, however, that "The Moldau," a much-loved patriotic symphony written by Bedrich Smetana, be excluded from the concert. Carried away by the beauty of the music, Volny ends his concert with a four-minute paraphrase of the famed symphony. Realizing that his act will draw the wrath of the Nazis and that his wife, Marya, will also suffer at the hands of their oppressors, Volny arranges for the Hoffmans to smuggle her out of the country, but before he can escape himself, he is captured and subjected to unspeakable violence, which deranges him. Enroute to a concentration camp, Volny overpowers his guards and escapes. After making his way to Lisbon, he hides on a fishing boat owned by Angelo and his brothers, which embarks shortly thereafter and carries him to the island of Guadalupe. In the fog of his unhinged brain, Volny fails to remember his own name and identity, and is thus dubbed El Hombre. As Anna's thoughts return to the present, Marya, enchanted by the sound of El Hombre's piano, rises from her bed, inches her way down the stairs and then collapses in the street. El Hombre finds her there, and as he fingers the crucifix encircling her neck, his memory begins to return. When the Hoffmans come looking for Marya, El Hombre retreats into the shadows. Later, he begins to recall snatches of his life with Marya, but his reverie is cruelly interrupted by Luigi's harsh voice challenging him. Moments later, from the street, Angelo hears gunshots, and hurrying to their source, he finds Luigi, gun in hand, standing over El Hombre's body. As the brothers argue, Luigi stabs Angelo with an ice pick. Noticing that El Hombre has vanished, the wounded Angelo follows a trail of blood into the street and up the stairs to Marya's room, where the Hoffmans are notifying the police of Marya's death. At her bedside, El Hombre cradles Marya's lifeless body in his arms, begging her to return to life. His entreaties echo the words spoken to him by Marya at the time of their separation in Czechoslovakia, affirming her certainty that he will one day come for her.

Film Details

Also Known As
Strange Music
Genre
Romance
Drama
War
Release Date
Mar 10, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Arthur Ripley-Rudolph Monter Productions
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,852ft

Award Nominations

Best Score

1944

Best Sound

1944

Articles

Voice in the Wind


Intended for release by the Poverty Row outfit Producer's Releasing Corporation, who had given the world The Devil Bat (1941) and Nabonga (1943), Arthur Ripley's somber and thoughtful Voice in the Wind (1944) generated such positive word of mouth around Hollywood that United Artists brokered a deal with PRC to provide finishing costs and theatrical distribution. Shot as Strange Music in eleven days and without retakes, Voice in the Wind stars Francis Lederer as a Czech pianist whose brutal treatment by the Third Reich has wiped clean his memory. Landing in French-governed Guatemala, where the locals refer to the silent stranger as "El Hombre," Lederer attempts to enter the United States through the dubious auspices of brothers J. Carroll Naish and Alexander Granach, never suspecting that these middle men are con artists and murderers to boot. A protégé of German theatrical impresario Max Reinhardt, Francis Lederer came to Hollywood from Berlin in 1931 as the Third Reich gained power. Costar Alexander Granach had also fled Germany as part of Europe's Jewish diaspora and is best remembered today as the mad estate agent Knock in F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922). Reliable Hollywood heavy J. Carroll Naish was at this point in his career subspecializing in horror pictures, among them Dr. Renault's Secret (1942) and House of Frankenstein (1944). Long after his tenure as a leading man, Francis Lederer enjoyed a later life star turn in the low budget UA shocker The Return of Dracula (1958).

By Richard Harland Smith
Voice In The Wind

Voice in the Wind

Intended for release by the Poverty Row outfit Producer's Releasing Corporation, who had given the world The Devil Bat (1941) and Nabonga (1943), Arthur Ripley's somber and thoughtful Voice in the Wind (1944) generated such positive word of mouth around Hollywood that United Artists brokered a deal with PRC to provide finishing costs and theatrical distribution. Shot as Strange Music in eleven days and without retakes, Voice in the Wind stars Francis Lederer as a Czech pianist whose brutal treatment by the Third Reich has wiped clean his memory. Landing in French-governed Guatemala, where the locals refer to the silent stranger as "El Hombre," Lederer attempts to enter the United States through the dubious auspices of brothers J. Carroll Naish and Alexander Granach, never suspecting that these middle men are con artists and murderers to boot. A protégé of German theatrical impresario Max Reinhardt, Francis Lederer came to Hollywood from Berlin in 1931 as the Third Reich gained power. Costar Alexander Granach had also fled Germany as part of Europe's Jewish diaspora and is best remembered today as the mad estate agent Knock in F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922). Reliable Hollywood heavy J. Carroll Naish was at this point in his career subspecializing in horror pictures, among them Dr. Renault's Secret (1942) and House of Frankenstein (1944). Long after his tenure as a leading man, Francis Lederer enjoyed a later life star turn in the low budget UA shocker The Return of Dracula (1958). By Richard Harland Smith

Voice in the Wind


A concert pianist has lost his memory, the result of his being arrested and tortured by the Nazis during the war for playing a banned song. He journeys to the island of Guadelupe to try to regain his memory and his health.

Producers: Rudolph Monter, Arthur Ripley
Director: Arthur Ripley
Screenplay: Friedrich Torberg (adaptation and screenplay); Arthur Ripley (original story)
Cinematography: Dick Fryer
Art Direction: Rudi Feld
Music: Michel Michelet
Film Editing: Holbrook N. Todd
Cast: Francis Lederer (Jan Volny), Sigrid Gurie (Marya), J. Edward Bromberg (Dr. Hoffman), J. Carrol Naish (Luigi), Alexander Granach (Angelo), David Cota (Marco), Olga Fabian (Anna), Howard Johnson (Capt. von Neubach), Hans Schumm (Piesecke), Luis Alberni (Bartender).
BW-85m.

Voice in the Wind

A concert pianist has lost his memory, the result of his being arrested and tortured by the Nazis during the war for playing a banned song. He journeys to the island of Guadelupe to try to regain his memory and his health. Producers: Rudolph Monter, Arthur Ripley Director: Arthur Ripley Screenplay: Friedrich Torberg (adaptation and screenplay); Arthur Ripley (original story) Cinematography: Dick Fryer Art Direction: Rudi Feld Music: Michel Michelet Film Editing: Holbrook N. Todd Cast: Francis Lederer (Jan Volny), Sigrid Gurie (Marya), J. Edward Bromberg (Dr. Hoffman), J. Carrol Naish (Luigi), Alexander Granach (Angelo), David Cota (Marco), Olga Fabian (Anna), Howard Johnson (Capt. von Neubach), Hans Schumm (Piesecke), Luis Alberni (Bartender). BW-85m.

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Strange Music. Art director Rudi Feld's name was misspelled in the opening credits as "Rudy." An April 1943 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that producers Arthur Ripley and Rudolph Monter tried to borrow Akim Tamiroff from Paramount to appear in this picture. According to a New York Times news item, Ripley and Monter originally contracted with Producers Releasing Corp. to release the picture, which was shot at the Talisman studio in eleven days, using no retakes. The producers then spent three-and-a-half months in the editing room, presenting a final cut without sound effects or music. When PRC judged the film "too arty," the company sold the rights to United Artists, which then put up the financing to complete the picture. Voice in the Wind was Ripley's and Monter's first and only production, and was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Sound Recording and Best Score. According to a May 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item, author May Davies Martenet filed a motion to restrain United Artists from distributing the film on the grounds that the title and theme were stolen from a novelette that she published in 1942. In June 1944, a judge denied her motion. According to an August 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item, screenwriter Jack DeWitt sued the producers, claiming that the film was based on several articles he wrote. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, the suit was settled out of court. DeWitt got 10% of the net gross.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1983

Released in United States Spring March 10, 1944

Released in United States 1983 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (A "B-Movie" Marathon) April 13 - May 1, 1983.)

Released in United States Spring March 10, 1944