Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  They Shall Have Music Hey, let's put on the show right here!
Year: 1939
Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Jascha Heifetz, Joel McCrea, Andrea Leeds, Walter Brennan, Gene Reynolds, Terry Kilburn, Porter Hall
Genre: Musical, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  9 (from 1 vote)
Review: Frankie (Gene Reynolds), a scruffy tyke from the streets of New York, steals tickets to a concert by celebrated violinist Jascha Heifetz (playing himself), which rekindles his love of music. He subsequently runs away from home and happens across a music school for children (played by members of the Peter Meremblum California Youth Symphony Orchestra). Taken in by kindly Professor Lawson (Walter Brennan), who is impressed by Frankie’s musical ear, he resumes violin study while sleeping in the school basement. Despite the best efforts of Peter (Joel McCrea) and Ann (Andrea Leeds) to raise money, the school is about to be foreclosed upon by Flower (Porter Hall) and associates. The schoolchildren, led by Frankie, try to raise money themselves, and run across Heifetz in the process.

Once in awhile a movie fan is caught unawares and beguiled by a film they knew nothing about. So it happened to this writer ten years ago, when They Shall Have Music magically appeared on daytime TV and lingered long in the memory ever since. A pet project for legendary producer Samuel Goldwyn, it was clearly conceived as a classy combination of classical music, social message, and heart-warming melodrama. Yet, on closer inspection, isn’t too dissimilar from a Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland picture (“Hey kids, let’s put on the show right here!”). Viewed a certain way it is earnest and sentimental, but it isn’t Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995). Key elements lift this way above average. Firstly, Mayo brings authentic grit to the street scenes (cinematography by Greg Toland of Citizen Kane fame) and to Frankie’s miserable home life of abuse and neglect, which makes the music school appear even more like an idyllic haven. Frankie is no angel. We see him bully, cheat and steal his Heifetz tickets, but music offers redemption. Watch Reynolds’ face when he hears Heifetz play. His amazing, naturalistic performance conveys an epiphany, a moment of quiet joy realising there is beauty to be found in a seemingly heartless world. Reynolds’ conviction is what really sells us on Frankie’s journey. He went on to become a successful producer and director of TV shows like M*A*S*H and Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman.

Equally essential are performances from the gifted musicians of the California Youth Symphony Orchestra. They include little, piano-playing prodigy Diana Lynn (a.k.a. Dolly/Dolores Loehr) who died tragically young, and mellifluous soprano Gale Sherwood. Jascha Heifetz serves less as an actor than an iconic presence, his spellbinding musicianship the blazing sun around which these bright, young stars revolve. The Lithuanian-born virtuoso was one of the greatest classical musicians of all time, hugely respected and successful. His schedule was so busy his scenes had to be completed before the rest of the movie, and were directed by the great William Wyler (Roman Holiday (1953), The Big Country (1958)). The innocence and sincerity of his musical performances alongside the children lend weight to a message that might otherwise seem trite: music is food for the soul.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 4693 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: