harpcolumn

practical news, for practical harpists

Forums » Coffee Break » Playing the Harp in Movies

About Forums

Welcome to the Harp Column forums. Please read the Terms and Conditions before posting. By using this forum, you agree to adhere to these terms.

Want to add links or emphasis to your posts? Read the Harp Column blog about posting shortcuts.

Playing the Harp in Movies

  • Unknown
    Unknown User

    After watching "Persuasion" yesterday, and seeing the scene where

    Henrietta Musgrove is playing the harp (yeah, right!) it made me

    wonder if there are other movies (besides Harpo Marx playing the

    Hungarian Rhapsody)where there is a scene with a harp being played.

    The only other ones I came up with are "Sense and Sensibility" and "A

    Little Princess". Does anyone know of any others? I'll bet a good

    majority would be period movies.

    - Sign in to comment
    replies to "Playing the Harp in Movies"
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      David Ice has put together a wonderful multi-media presentation of harps and harpists in the movies which can sometimes be seen at AHS conferences.  Meantime, look for "Samantha" on cable; it's early 1990s with Martha Plimpton.  There's a flute and harp duet near the end.  Plus "Some Like It Hot" with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.  There's a harpist in the all-girl band.


      I remember seeing a really dreadful (as in bad) horror movie many years ago in which a woman played a pedal harp and whistled as she accompanied herself.  It looked like a style 30.  Don't know the name of the flick.


      There's a similar discussion on this site, possibly under Professional Harpists; I think the subject was the harp in the 1995 movie "A Little Princess."

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I do remember watching The Bishop's Wife but it was before I began playing the harp.  I'll have to check it out again. In regards to "Some Like it Hot", it brings to mind a provocative idea - harp and ukelele duets ?!

      - Sign in to comment
    • Evelyn
      Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni

      Cary Grant played (mimed playing) a harp in a key scene of "The Bishop's Wife," which starred Loretta Young and David Niven.  Grant was an angel.  Don't let that premise deter you.  It's a fine, classic movie with a holiday feel and an up-beat message.

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      "The Princess Diaries," "Haunted Mansion" (well more or less without a visible harpist," "The Matrix," there are a lot of movies and tv shows that just use harps as props. shakes fist at Hollywood 'The Munsters,' 'That's So Raven,' 'Oprah' (on occasion),and a few more, but I've been put on the spot, so I can't think of them now.

      Hope that helps anyway.

      - Sign in to comment
    • Alexander
      Alexander Rider

      There was an episode of that sitcom I really SHOULDN'T  watch; Will and Grace recently showed a harp at a wedding, although the girl was miming obviously. An Erard grecian harp, appears to be being played (not mimed I think) in the background in North-by-North-West, a classic Hitchcock movie. Th ballet movie Red slipper,(shoes?) shows  a lot of shots of the orchestra harpist. I'll post them as I think of them! Alex

      - Sign in to comment
    • Tony
      Tony Morosco

      Mansfield Park - The sister of the scoundrel plays the harp and the actress actually does a very good job of making it look like she really was playing.


      Dangerous Liaisons. There is a scene where someone is practicing the harp and another person comes by and corrects their hand position.

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Thanks so much for all your answers.  Didn't realize there were so many. I especially will want to get Mansfield Park.  Harps seem to be common in the adaptations from Jane Austen novels.  I hope to collect all of the Austens - I'm such a softie.


      Alice

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Here are two more which might interest you.  In "The Wild Heart," Jennifer Jones plays a gypsy girl whose father plays a lever harp which he carries on his back through most of the movie.  For a more contemporary film check out "Valmont," a Czech version of Dangerous Liasons.  Fairuza Balk takes harp lessons from Henry Thomas and falls in love with her harp teacher.  Lots of harp (and other stuff!) in this one.

      - Sign in to comment
    • Carl
      Carl Swanson

      You really must make an effort to see David Ice's presentation on the harp in

      Cinema.  It's fantastic.  Concerning the movie'The Bishop's Wife," which was

      mentioned.  The scene showing Cary Grant playing the harp is actually a

      matte shot, and while you are watching Cary Grant seem to play the harp, you

      are actually seeing Gail Laughton's hands(he's a man by the way) playing..

      He was one of the first and greatest jazz and Pop harpists.  Incidentally, I have

      it on very good authority that in the Marx Brother's movies, while you are

      watching Harpo play the harp, you are hearing Gail Laughton.  If you watch

      carefully, it's perfectly obvious that what Harpo is playing is not at all what you

      are hearing.  Carl Swanson

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I've always wondered what they do with those harps that are used in films anyway??  Are they rented from local harpists or were they purchased and are kept as props for future films?

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      There are so many, I wish I could remember them all. The best use of harp I've seen on tv has been on the Carol Burnett Show, Cheers, and Frasier... and of course, I Love Lucy.

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      There's also a Humphrey Bogart movie in which a whole scene is about the harpist playing in a night club, and they sit and listen to her. I wish I could remember the name, but it was one of his later movies.

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Lydia,


      I had forgotton about the harp in Pride & Prejudice, which surprises me as it is also my favorite movie of all time.  My husband (who is an unusual because he likes "chick flicks") and I watch it a couple of times a year.  Usually when I need an emotional pick-me-up.  Being Lydia, do you also get all excited about "a whole camp full of soldiers!"?


      Alice

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      In Pride and Prejudice (one of the best movies ever made!) has a harp as a prop near the piano that I suppose Mr Darcy's "very accomplished" sister plays (not actually in the movie, she just plays the piano but you hear that she plays and sings all day so you would guess she is the one who plays it, if that makes sense :o).  You see it twice in the 3rd hour of the movie; it is a five hour-long movie, and well worth those 5 hours!


      That is the only harp I have ever seen (except for I Love Lucy of course) on TV or movies.  I am going to be sure to check out these others and I was already planning on watching Samantha, now I am definitely going to!

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Hehe Alice!  I did not even think about that when I was writing that :o)!  No, I am not at all like Lydia Bennet!  In fact, I am quite the opposite in many ways! She is quite a hoot! "lord; I feel so FAT, fetch me a glass of wine Denny"!! :o)


      I am glad to hear there are other poeple who watch Pride and Predjudice more then once every 5 years!  My sisters AND brothers and their friends love the movie too!  I have 9 (yes, 9!!) brothers and sisters who all like the movie but I am mostly talking about the older ones; my 17 and 19 year old brothers.  Last year I watched the movie 3 times just during the Holiday season!  When ever we have company stay for more then the week-end who have not watched Pride and Predjudice before we always 'make' them watch it and they always love it!


      I was just watching 'The Munsters' with my little brothers and sisters and I noticed the harp in the backroon for th efirst time, I am suprised I never saw it before in all those cobwebs :o)

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      I think the actor that probably had the most fun part was David Bamber (Mr. Collins).  I wonder what he really looks like when his hair isn't matted down over his forehead and his face is not spritzed with water.


      Alice

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Ha, I can go on and on about Pride and Predjudice!


      Yes, when Lizie runs into Darcy is a classic!  I think that and the first of Darcy's porposal are some of my favorites!  Ah yes, and when Mr Bennet hears Lizzie is engaged to Darcy, I love his face expresions and remarks! :o)


      By the way, you said there is a harp scene in Sense and Sensibility, I can't recal that.  Which scene is it?

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      Haha!  Mr Collins...  I can not even think of a word to describe him :o)!  I saw him in one other movie (Daniel Duronda -sp?) and he was even worse!!!  Sly with his hair curled under his chin, gave me the creeps!  My favorite part of him in P&P is when he runs into Lizzie during the dance and when he runs into Lydia in her underclothes!  Hehe!


      I found out the Colin Firth (Mr Darcy) is actually a very comical guy!  He at first applied for My Bingly but they picked him for Darcy!  His Grandmother who loves the book said he would ruin her impression of Mr. Darcy if he played him when she found out he was going to :o)!  What a great movie!  I must admit I can tell you what the next seen will be on every seen and who will say what next when I watch it :o)!  An all-time favorite!

      - Sign in to comment
    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      My favorite scene is the confrontation between Lizzie and Lady Catherine.  Or maybe when Lizzie runs into Darcy at Pemberly and she can't seem to keep herself from looking at his "charms" when he's all wet.


      Now it's getting naughty. Shame Shame.


      Alice

      - Sign in to comment
    • Evelyn
      Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni

      I think what Lydia said in the film was "Lord; I feel so FAGGED [tired]; fetch me a glass of wine Denny!"  But I do love your version.

      - Sign in to comment