Frankie (Gene Reynolds), a young slum dweller, finds a Carnegie Hall concert ticket on the sidewalk and, after using it to hear famed violinist Jascha Heifetz perform, revels in thoughts of a music career. He enrolls in the underfinanced inner-city music school run by Prof. Lawson (Walter
Brennan), then, seeing that the school is near the end of its rope, enlists the assistance of his streetwise pals to implore Heifetz to help save it. Naturally, a benefit concert does the trick. Although best known for the Girls who assumed his name, Samuel Goldwyn also tried to impose culture on
audiences. THE GOLDWYN FOLLIES had mixed popular and classical music, but Goldwyn wanted to try an all-classical film and featured his good friend Heifetz in this effort, for which the violinist was paid $70,000 for four weeks' work. Moreover, Heifetz' busy concert schedule forced Goldwyn to film
the violinist's solos well before the screenplay was completed, though Heifetz was called in later for the filming of some additional musical sequences directed by the uncredited William Wyler. Two separate advertising campaigns were launched to promote the film: one featuring Heifetz for the
highbrows and another pushing the film's slum-dweller plot. Although the music is the important thing here, that didn't prevent the producers from re-releasing the film in 1945 with emphasis on the story, under the title RAGGED ANGELS. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Score.
Violin pieces played by Heifetz include "Rondo Capriccioso" (Camille Saint-Saens), "Hora Staccato" (Dinicu, Heifetz), "Estrellita" (Ponce, Heifetz), "Melody" (Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky), and--accompanied by Peter Meremblum's group--the third movement of "Concerto in E Minor for Violin and
Orchestra" (Felix Mendelssohn). Little pianist Loehr plays "Waltz in D Flat, Opus 64, No. 1 (The Minute Waltz)" (Frederic Chopin). Nash sings "Cara Nome" (Giuseppe Verdi) and "Casta Diva" (Vincenzo Bellini). Meremblum's orchestra renders "Italian Symphony" (Mendelssohn), selections from "The
Barber of Seville" (Giacchimo Antonio Rossini), and "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart).
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