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The Magic Bow

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Director  Bernard Knowles
Initial DVD release  April 14, 2009
Country  United Kingdom
6/10 IMDb

Genre  Musical, Romance
Music by  Henry Ernest Geehl
Language  English
The Magic Bow movie poster

Writer  Manuel Komroff, Roland Pertwee
Release date  25 November 1946 (1946-11-25)
Cast  Stewart Granger (Nicolo Paganini), Phyllis Calvert (Jeanne), Jean Kent (Bianchi), Cecil Parker (Luigi Germi), Dennis Price (Paul de la Rochelle), Marie Lohr (Countess de Vermond)
Similar movies  Kinski Paganini (1989)

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The Magic Bow is a 1946 British musical film based on the life and loves of the Italian violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini. It was directed by Bernard Knowles. The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.


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The Magic Bow The Magic Bow Movie Posters From Movie Poster Shop

  • Stewart Granger as Niccolò Paganini
  • Phyllis Calvert as Jeanne de Vermond
  • Jean Kent as Bianca
  • Dennis Price as Paul de la Rochelle
  • Cecil Parker as Luigi Germi
  • Felix Aylmer as Signor Fazzini
  • Frank Cellier as Antonio
  • Marie Lohr as Countess de Vermond
  • Henry Edwards as Count de Vermond
  • Mary Jerrold as Teresa Paganini
  • Betty Warren as Landlady
  • Anthony Holles as Manager
  • David Horne as Rizzi
  • Robert Speaight as Cardinal
  • Charles Victor as Peasant Driver
  • Production

    The Magic Bow The Magic Bow 1946 film

    The film was based on a 1941 book. Maurice Ostrer announced the project in July 1945.


    Yehudi Menuhin was hired to performed the violin solos heard in the film. He arrived in London in May 1945 to record the tracks. In August it was announced Stewart Granger would play the lead role as part of his last two films for Gainsborough Pictures; the other project was Caravan. Phyllis Calvert was to be his co-star.

    The Magic Bow The Magic Bow Bernard Knowles 1946 Joseph Black Flickr

    Filming had to be postponed due to an illness to Phyllis Calvert, so Caravan was rushed into production and made first.

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    Phyllis Calvert's character was fictitious, a composite of various women who had helped Paganini. The character of Bianca, the Italian singer, was real. Margaret Lockwood was originally announced to play the role, but was replaced by Jean Kent. Kent later recalled "I had marvellous costumes in that bit not a very good part. You expect she [Bianca] is going to do something and she never does. It's a film that went wrong. Originally I believe they wanted Margaret Lockwood to play it. Presumably then it would have been a much better part, I don't know what happened. Bernard Knowles was a very good cameraman but not a director."

    Producer R. J. Minner said that:

    We are doing it [the film] as delicately as possible, as a study of sacred and profane love. Paganini's relationship with Bianca is rather a tricky business to get past the Hays Office, but we hope, with tact, to manage it. He knew Bianca all his life. He couldn't do it without her. She sang at all his concerts. He kept quarrelling with her and coming back to her. She made him ill and nearly killed him, and in the end he left her.

    Granger was given two violin tutors. Menuhin used two violins and spent six weeks recording tracks.

    Critical reception

    In their review, The New York Times concluded, "...the behind-the-scenes playing of Yehudi Menuhin as the violinist, drawing his magic bow over the compositions of Paganini, Tartini and Beethoven, is in itself almost worth the price of admission. Stewart Granger, playing Paganini, offers creditable make-believe as a violinist and does his best to play the man in a forthright manner. Considering the script, that is something of an accomplishment. Phyllis Calvert, as the other half of the romance, does well under the same handicaps, while Jean Kent and Dennis Price, aso facing script difficulties, do the best they can as a couple of jilted lovers. What few pleasant moments occur in the film — outside of the splendid musical sequences — fall to Cecil Parker as Paganini's manager. He presided over the two or three occasions when the audience laughed."

    The film was entered in the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.


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