D: Bernard Knowles (The Castaways Picture DVD/Hong Kong)
Recently, I've been binging out on a marathon Paganini kick, collecting and listening to multiple renditions by a variety of artists of his most famous works (the 24 Caprices, concertos, etc.) and I wanted to check out how movies depicted music's first true 'rock star.' Nicolo Paganini (1782-1840) was an ego-maniacal virtuoso with all the risky excesses that today's rock stars unabashedly wallow in and take for granted. His legend was dark and it was rumored that he sold his soul to satan to achieve his virtuoso skills, among other decidely vile attributes.
"I am not handsome, but when women hear me play, they come crawling to my feet." - Nicolo Paganini
This lavish 1946 British production stars Stewart Granger (KING SOLOMON'S MINES) as the ferocious fiddler in a quaint period piece costume drama/romance. What helps the film rise above the mundane is Granger's energetic performance and the actual off-screen violin playing of contemporary maestro Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999).