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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Magic Bow
Italian theatrical poster
Directed byBernard Knowles
Written byRoland Pertwee
Harry Ostrer (Scenario Editor)
Norman Ginsbury (additional dialogue)
Based onThe Magic Bow: a Romance of Paganini
by Manuel Komroff[1]
Produced byR. J. Minney
StarringStewart Granger
Phyllis Calvert
CinematographyJack Asher
Jack E. Cox
Edited byAlfred Roome
Music byHenry Geehl
Edric Cundell (conductor)
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors (UK)
Release date
  • 25 November 1946 (1946-11-25)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office5,067 admissions (France)[2]

The Magic Bow is a 1946 British musical film based on the life and loves of the Italian violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini.[3] It was directed by Bernard Knowles. The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.[4]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Philip Green - Romance on a Theme of Paganini From the film 'The Magic Bow'
  • The Magic Bow (Romance based on a theme by Paganini)
  • The Magic Bow / Michael Rabin SP8510 (side 1)
  • Romance on a Theme of Paganini (From the film 'The Magic Bow')
  • Romance on a theme by Paganini (from "The Magic Bow")




The film was based on a 1941 book.[5] Maurice Ostrer announced the project in July 1945.[6]

The lead role was offered to James Mason who was excited to accept it and started practising the violin. However when he read the script he was disappointed to find it focused on Paganini's love life and turned it down. The part went to Stewart Granger.[7]

Yehudi Menuhin was hired to perform the violin solos heard in the film.[8][9] He arrived in London in May 1945 to record the tracks.[10] 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.[11] Phyllis Calvert was to be his co-star.[12] Filming had to be postponed due to an illness to Phyllis Calvert, so Caravan was rushed into production and made first.[13]

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. Lockwood wrote in her memoirs that she felt it was "a very poor and unsuitable role... I was so offended by the script that, although I was under contract, I had made up my mind I would not accept it."[14] At the suggestion of Phyllis Calvert they went to see J. Arthur Rank, who neither had met. Lockwood said "he was absolutely charming, heard both of us voice our opinions on various scripts, and, as far as I was concerned, upheld my determination not to accept the part of Bianca."[15]

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."[16] (Kent routinely played roles devised for Lockwood.[17])

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.[8]

Granger was given two violin tutors.[18] Menuhin used two violins and spent six weeks recording tracks.[19]


Box office

More traditional Gainsborough melodramas like The Wicked Lady and Caravan made the list of popular British films for 1946 but not The Magic Bow.[20][21][22]

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 [sic] 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."[23]

The film was entered in the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.[24]


  1. ^ Goble, Alan (1 January 1999). The Complete Index to Literary Sources in Film. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110951943 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Box office information for Stewart Granger films in France at Box Office Story
  3. ^ "The Magic Bow (1946)". Archived from the original on 2 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Magic Bow". Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  5. ^ "Glances At The New Novels". The Chronicle. Vol. LXXXIV, no. 4, 783. Adelaide. 21 August 1941. p. 33. Retrieved 15 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "Great Composers Lives To Make Screen Stories". The Mercury. Vol. CLXII, no. 23, 279. Tasmania. 14 July 1945. p. 9. Retrieved 15 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ Masonfirst= James (1989). Before I forget : autobiography and drawings. Sphere. p. 190-191.
  8. ^ a b C.A. LEJEUNE (16 September 1945). "THE FILM SCENE IN LONDON: Strictly a Family Affair". New York Times. p. X3.
  9. ^ "Louis Levy". Truth. No. 3313. Sydney. 26 July 1953. p. 12. Retrieved 15 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "NEWS IN BRIEF;". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 21 May 1945. p. 6. Retrieved 15 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "British Movies Produce A Pin-Up Boy". The News. Vol. 45, no. 6, 874. Adelaide. 11 August 1945. p. 4. Retrieved 15 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ "NEWS ABOUT MOVIES". The Mail. Vol. 34, no. 1, 747. Adelaide. 17 November 1945. p. 8. Retrieved 15 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ C.A. LEJEUNE (24 June 1945). "BUSY BRITONS: Two Down and One to Go". New York Times. p. 27.
  14. ^ Lockwood, Margaret (1955). Lucky Star: The Autobiography of Margaret Lockwood. Odhams Press Limited. p. 134.
  15. ^ Lockwood p 135
  16. ^ Brian MacFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Methuen 1997 p 340
  17. ^ Vagg, Stephen (29 January 2020). "Why Stars Stop Being Stars: Margaret Lockwood". Filmink.
  18. ^ ""Caesar" fans mob Granger". The Sun. No. 2229. Sydney. 30 December 1945. p. 9. Retrieved 15 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  19. ^ "INTERESTING SIDELIGHTS". Gippsland Times. No. 11, 746. Victoria. 3 March 1947. p. 4. Retrieved 15 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  20. ^ "Britain's Best Films". The Sunday Times. Perth. 16 February 1947. p. 12 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE SUNDAY TIMES. Retrieved 2 February 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  21. ^ Robert Murphy, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48 2003 p209
  22. ^ Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32, no. 3. p. 258.
  23. ^ "Movie Review – At the Little Carnegie". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  24. ^ "Ingrid A Non-Starter". Sunday Times. No. 2538. Perth. 13 October 1946. p. 6 (The Sunday Times MAGAZINE). Retrieved 15 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.

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This page was last edited on 15 October 2023, at 18:51
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