Silver Screen Notes (A-E)
ABBA: The Movie / Lasse Hallstrom / 1977
A cute youth picture of Benny Anderson with accordion, and a hotelroom scene where he plays one.
Across The Wide Missouri / William A. Wellman / 1951
Clark Gable weds Blackfoot Indian Chiefs daughter to gain access to trapping rights in mountains. During a mountain man Rendezvous there is a 'band' with a Fiddler and a man standing in a wagon playing what looks like a Anglo Concertina. He seems to have some idea how to do so as his movements are more percussive than smooth, but it's hard to hear more than a chord or two in the soundtrack. In any case it is WAY too early in time for a concertina.
Side note, The man who's later claim to fame was to be Batman's TV butler 'Alfred' [Tim Napier???], gets hit in the head with the squeezebox during a fight and knocked unconscious
Addams Family / Henry Selick / 1991
Accordionist Frank Marocco plays on the soundtrack.
Addams Family Values/ Barry Sonnenfield / 1993
Accordionist Frank Marocco plays on the soundtrack.
Adolphe jouant de l'accordion / Louis Aimi Augustin Le Prince
Le Prince made three films between 1886 and 1888 one of which was this.
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen / Gilliam /
There is a great scene (one of many in a great movie - one of my all-time favorite films),in which inside the big fish, one of the old seamen is playing a beat-up old concertina.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert / Stephen Elliot / 1994
in this Oz movie there's an 'outback' bar scene, the band has a PA player, I suspect a red Paolo Soprani, with mutes on the grille, but couldn't swear to it!!! ..... NO, it wasn't me playing it!!!
L'Affaire Dominici / Claude Bernard-Aubert / 1973
France/Italy. A Bavarian type band with accordion in one scene.
Always for Pleasure / Les Blank / 1978
musical documentary about Mardi Gras NOLA style.
A button box shows up in this Russian silent picture.
Amadeus / Milos Forman / 1984
questionable citation: the scene in the burlesque theater, where they're doing a spoof of "Don Giovanni" while Schickaneder is pitching"The Magic Flute" to Mozart; note the concertina-playing dwarf on the stage, 30 years before Wheatstone who is playing in the parody of Don Giovanni in harmonic minor:
Amarcord / Fellini / 1974
The blind accordionist weaves in and out of many of the scenes.
American Friends/ Tristam Powell / 1991 /
United Kingdom. Based on the life of Michael Palin's grandfather. Palin plays an Oxford don who goes to Switzerland on holidays, where he meets two American women. The Swiss band playing at a party includes an accordion. I couldn't identify it exactly, but it had at least three rows of buttons on the left hand, and probably Stradella basses. Which might make it slightly anachronistic, as Palin's grandfather married the girl in 1866.
...And God Spoke / Arthur Borman / 1993
great ending scene!
Angelo My Love / Robert Duvall /
The actors in the film are all Rom from New York, playing themselves. The fanciful story line centers on a dispute between two Rom families over a ring. During the scene where a court (kris) is convened to hear the matter, Steve Tsiganoff is addressed formally as "Patalay, son of Mishka." It's a really charming film, if you can find it.
Patalay (Steve) and Millie Tsiganoff, who play themselves, seem to be Mishka's own children. The clues pop up throughout the film, but the clincher comes at the end, during the credits, when we see Millie talking to a photograph on the wall, and then see the photo of Mishka with his accordion. The credit reads"In Appreciation to the Tsiganoff Family."
It seems to resolve the question of whether Mishka Tsiganoff was a Gypsy or a Jew. These two Romany-speaking, and apparently *very* Christian, people are his children. The question of why a Russian Gypsy musician chose to play so much in the Romanian/Jewish repertoire, of course, remains.
[Owen Davidson, Amherst, Mass. The Wholesale Klezmer Band]
Mishka Tsiganov is well known in klezmer circles as an early recording artist of klezmer music on solo accordion - one of the earliest. His style was very flamboyant, lots of ornamentation and dramatic emphasis.
Antonia's Line / Marleen Gorris / 1995
accordion used in score throughout this wonderful film which takes place in the Netherlands starting after WWII
The Apostle / Robert Duval / 1997
There is a cajun accordion in the movie played badly by a young child - which is the point of the scene.
Two accordion scenes. One apearred too be Z.Richard (it was dark and I didn't check the credits),the other Hunter Hayes, the five year old who is more abnoxious than cute, making him a perfect accordionist.
Arizona Dream / Emir Kusturica / 1993
one of the female characters plays (fakes) a PA on and off throughout the movie.
l'Atalante / Jean Vigo / 1934
On my way back from France, I bought the French Accordion Magazine' (no 21, May 1997); it has a 5 page article about the accordion in movies! It mentions this movie.
Back to Oklahoma / / 1936
Tex Ritter is in a jam and wires Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys for help. They arrive by stage with Tex driving and the Playboys sitting on top of the stage, playing and singing. Arkansas Slim, Tex's sidekick, gallops behind the stage on his mule, playing an anglo concertina. Later, Slim, on concertina, and the Playboys accompany Tex's singing by the campfire. It's then time for Tex and Slim to ride into town and outfox the villians. Slim hands his concertina to Bob Wills and says, "Here Bob, hold my wrinkle-box."
This is about as close to my ultimate cowboy music fantasy as one could get: galloping along on horseback while playing with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.
There's a cajun band playing some type of squeeze box. Possibly a button box.
Belizaire the Cajun / Glen Pitre / 1986
The Big Clock / /
Accordionist Ernie Felice is featured with his quartet. Paramount Pictures
The Big Easy / Jim McBride / 1987
A romantic thriller about corruption in the New Orleans police force (New Orleans = the Big Easy), with Dennis Quaid (who also sings) and Ellen Barkin. On screen: the Dewey Balfa band, with a cajun accordion. The soundtrack also includes (copying from the CD booklet): Buckwheat Zydeco: Ma 'tit Fille, Beausoleil: Zydeco Gris Gris, Terrance Simien and the Mallet Playboys: Oh Yeh Yai, Buckwheat Zydeco & Ils sont partis band: Buck's Nouvelle Jole Blon.
The name of the song the Balfas perform is "You Used To Call Me". It was originally done by another accordion great, Clifton Chenier.
The accordionist is named Robert Jardell. When Dewey Balfa's band came here to Michigan to play the Wheatland Music Festival (where I'm one of the volunteers), he was their accordion player. He also put in a stint with Beausoliel, who did the music for "Belizaire the Cajun. These guys are old friends of mine.
The Big Noise / Mal St. Clair / 1944
Laurel and Hardy pretend to be two detectives hired to guard a new type of bomb for the war effort. They hide it in Stan's concertina. One of the WORST L&H movies ever. A real groaner.
The Big Picture / Christopher Quest / 1989
starring Kevin Bacon.Features a rock video of the Pez People, complete with piano accordion player.
Black Cat, White Cat (Crna macka, beli macor) / Emir Kusturica / 1998
Another film about Gypsies, with Gypsy music. A piano accordion serves a similar role to the squeezebox in (the last pages of) "Accordion Crimes". The accordionist (on the sound track) is Zoran Milosevic.
La Boda de la Acordeonista (The Accordianist's Wedding) / Pacho Bottia / 1986
Colombian. A folktale set in a small town with one of the central figures being a lovelorn accordianist who keeps playing at other weddings while waiting for his own.
Bye Bye Brazil / Carlos Diegues / 1980
a character in the traveling troupe plays (fakes) accordion.
Camille / /
Greta Garbo/Robert Taylor/Lionel Barrymore. There is a brief scene with a country peasant on a wagon playing an anglo concertina, about midway through the movie.
Captain January / David Butler / 1936
a guy plays a concertina (I think--I'm not sure whether he's faking it or not) as an introduction to a wonderful spoof of the Astaire-Rogers dances by Shirley Temple and Buddy Ebsen.
Casablanca / /
When the Germans come in and start singing the house band cranks up the volume and starts playing the French national anthem. ( La Marsellaise).There is an accordion in the band.
Cat Ballou / Elliot Silverstein / 1965
A comic western with Jane Fonda; there's a two-row in the band at the May ball.
Chacun cherche son chat / Cedric Klapisch / 1995
A (non-playing) accordionist walks past in one scene, and there is a street band with a bandoneon in it, "fanfare fanfarniente"; they play "The Hills of Manchouria". Unfortunately, the "music shops that used to sell accordions and guitars" had been replaced by a clothes shop.
Chained For Life / Harry L. Fraser / 1951
Perhaps the best of all accordion which Rhino Video issued a few years ago. If, perhaps, you thought Twin Falls Idaho was a little too anemic, Chained for Life is the movie to see. It's all about a pair of real life Siamese twins (played by Dolly and Daisy Hilton) who are fleeced by con artist; when one of them shoots the rotter, the two of them are put on trial for murder--of course, this leaves the judge in a double bind. To flesh out the story, there's various vaudeville acts, and one of them is an accordion player named Johnny Novello--and jeez, is he fast: he plays these ultra speedy renditions of "Flight of the Bumble Bee" and "Slavic Dance" faster than anyone; a stunt more than a performance, still everyone who loves accordions ought to see this and be shocked.
Le Checircane / Lucian Pintilie / 1992
France/Rumania. One of a group of miners plays a piano accordion.
Children of Nature (Boern Natturunnar) / Fridrik Fridrikson / 1991
There's a scene in nursing home where's there's a band playing music for a social event. One of the players is an accordionist. Also later on when the two main characters are on the road they come upon a celebration and there's accordion music again.
Chulas Fronteras / Les Blank / 1976
There is a scene with the young son of Flaco Jimenez playing the accordion.
[Alan Burdette via Ted Samsel]
Chulas Fronteras is about Tex-Mex music and features Flaco Jimenez, Santiago Jimenez, Los Alegres deTeran , Lydia Mendoza and Los Pinguinos del Norte. I have seen it at good video stores. There is also an excellent soundtrack on Arhoolie Records.
Chulas Fronteras is available in video with Del Mero Corazon, Brazos Films BF104. Definitely worth the investment.
Its a great film - documentary - some really great music. Great soundtrack ... Some really great classic songs, like Cancion Mixteca and Volver, Volver are performed in the film. Also food preparation scenes, dancing. We were absolutely crazy about it fifteen years ago.
There is a fantastic CD called "Chulas Fronteras & Del Mero Corazon", Arhoolie records CD #425. ... some phenomenal music on this CD. Enjoy!!
Cold Comfort Farm / John Schlesinger / 1995
Some kind of squeeze heard during wedding scene.
There's some nice diatonic work in the 'wedding/farewell' scene (at the end) ... anyone know who the musicians are and what type of instruments are represented?
Comfort and Joy / Bill Forsyth / 1984
Another very slight hearing: an accordion can be heard on the radio, playing a hornpipe.
Como Agua para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) / Alfonso Arau / 1992
Mexico. Laura Esquivel wrote the book. It has a scene in which the prodigal daughter, Gertrudis, returns to the family ranch, as a general in the rebel army. The army sets up camp at the ranch and their entertainment includes dancing to an accordion.
Cosi / Mark Joffe / 1996
Australian. Plenty of squeezebox sounds in it .. even before the Viking finale (what a scene .. spotlight on a fellow wearing a horn helmet, playing (acting) 'Ride of the Valkyries' on an accordion, while a young pig sat listening. (Smart pig.) Anyone have any data on the music?
Cousins / Joel Schumacher / 1989
USA. There's a scene in which a man plays accordion outside the dance school were Ted Danson teaches (and probably more accordions in the soundtrack, but not very clearly).
The Crazy Stranger (Gadjo Dilo) / Tony Gatlif / 1998
Great, quirky story of Romany culture. Accordion shows up in more than one scene. Once with a wonderful singer at a graveside though he doesn't look like he is actually playing the PA squeeze he is holding.
The Dark Backward / Adam Rifkin / 1991
A man pursues stand-up comedy encouraged by his fellow garbage man. Though his friend, who accompanies him on accordion, continues to tell him how great he is, he actually stinks. When the "comedian" grows a third arm out of his back, the friend uses this twist to get him signed up with a sleazy talent agent, and it begins to look like his career is on the move, even though his girlfriend has left him.
Dark City / / 1997
For anyone who is interested, the new Science Fiction film has William Hurt as an accordion-playing detective.
[Blues - The Blues Viking Online!]
Dead Again / Kenneth Brannagh / 1991
There's a short glimpse of a PA playing at a party.
Accordionist Frank Marocco plays on the soundtrack.
Dear Brigitte / Henry Koster / 1965
Jimmy Stewart plays a professor whose son has a crush on Brigitte Bardot. Shows you how old the movie is... Anyhow, through the movie, Jimmy Stewart plays the accordion ...classical music if I remember right.
Delicatessan / Marc Caro & Jean Pierre Jeunet / 1991
Prominently features accordion music in the soundtrack.
Del Mero Corazon / Les Blank / 1979
available in video with Chulas Fronteras, Brazos Films BF104. Definitely worth the investment.
Delta of Venus / /
An abundance of accordions (piano, chromatic, diatonic) and accordion music. Filmed in Europe with that flavor. You can acquire or rent the showing from your ample video store. Story line isn't bad either and has a rating of "R".
Diva / Jean-Jaques Beineix / 1981
supposedly blind musette player in the street, who rejoices when somebody gives him a pile of cash; pimpy French musette coming out of the earpiece of the hit man with the crewcut and the skinny shades after he's pushed to his death down the industrial elevatorshaft ("I don't like elevators." "You don't like anything.")
Doc Hollywood / Michael Caton-Jones / 1991
An accordionist accompagnies a silent movie in one scene, and the sound track includes a Buckwheat Zydeco song.
Doctor Zhivago / David Lean / 1965
There is an accordion in the Moscow Train Station scene. If you look close you can see one of the other immigrants playing an accordion.
Dodge City / Michael Curtiz / 1939
starring Errol Flynn. Features a saloon fight that starts when some Texans with a button box player try to drown out the Kansas men who are singing Marching through Georgia. The box player strikes up Dixie, and continues to play it throughout the prodigious brawl that follows. We don't get a good look at the box, but one would assume it was one row if the prop man knew his chronicity.
stars Marlon Brando &Johnny Depp
The Dream Team / Howard Zieff / 1989
Bill Goffi plays the Singer/Accordionist.
DryWood and Hot Pepper / Les Blank / 1973
2 part musical documentary about the French-speaking blacks in southwest Louisiana. Dry Wood features Boisec Ardoin. Hot Pepper features Clifton Chenier.
Edward Scissorhands / Tim Burton / 1990
Accordionist Frank Marocco plays on the soundtrack.
The English Patient / Anthony Minghella / 1996
Fine film, by the way, with a very brief image of a woman playing a piano accordion in a small ensemble during celebratory scenes following the German surrender in WWII.
Jim Boggio is the accordionist on the soundtrack.
Endless Summer II / Bruce Brown / 1994
In the soundtrack only. Snippet of accordion music when the surfers arrive in France, later on some Clifton Chenier.
Escape from Alcatraz / Don Siegel / 1979
Clint Eastwood signs up for an accordion course in prison, so that he can hide the tunnel entrance with his accordion case. I'm fairly sure I've seen this one on TV, but that was probably before I got interested in accordions.
Eternity and a Day [Mia aiwniothta kai mia mera ] / Theo Angelopoulos / 1998
There's one scene where a bride goes to the bridegroom's house, half walking, half dancing, followed by an accordionist and presumably her family; the groom then comes out, followed by a lira player. And there is a flashback, a reminisence rather, of a day at the beach with accordion and guitar.
Evita / / 1996
About 1/4th of the way through the film in a nightclub -- the band had a bandoneon in it. The bandoneon's music could be heard in the film's score.... then soon from afar we caught a glimpse of the bandoneon player with his instrument... then shortly thereafter... the screen was filled with a close up of the bandoneon for a couple of seconds.
[Don Larson &Flamin' Cajun Susan]
Near the beginning, when Magaldi is singing about this "Night of a Thousand Stars" at a nightclub, he is accompanied by a small band that includes 2 bandoneons.