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Immortal Beloved Un Grand Amour de Beethoven Le Neuveu de Beethoven Eroica Beethoven lives upstairs Copying Beethoven
An Immortal Spirit La dixième symphonie, by Abel Gance Moonlight Sonata Fidelio by Pierre Jourdan Ludwig van, by Mauricio Kagel Other films

Once again, many thanks to Donna Dralle who worked hard to give us the opportunity to see this film.
Thank you so much Donna.

Title... "Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata"
Moonlight Sonata Moonlight Sonata

This silent short Beethoven film was made circa 1920 for the (then) Bell and Howell Company, a manufacturer of optics including lenses used in filmmaking and projectors.

There are two versions of the movie Beethoven: one black and white and the other tinted. The stills on this page are taken from the black and white Beethoven movie. You can view the tinted version in its entirety below.

There are quite a lot of movies about Beethoven but the story of this film is based on one of the fantasies about the origin of Beethoven's Piano Sonata Opus 27, No. 2, in C# Minor, commonly known as “Beethoven Moonlight”.

One of the most poignant Beethoven movies, the film depicts Beethoven and a friend walking on a moonlit night. They hear some beautiful music emanating from a humble cottage and pause to listen. Beethoven is touched by the playing. They overhear the conversation of the occupants: a young woman (the pianist who is blind) and her brother.

Moonlight Sonata

She declares her desire to see the Master perform in an upcoming concert. In response, the brother laments that they are too poor to go.

Upon hearing that (and let us not forget that Beethoven was going deaf!), Beethoven bursts through the door and announces that he will play for her now! At this point, Beethoven discovers that the young woman is blind, and he is profoundly moved. After he has put out the candles, he proceeds to improvise "In the Moonlight" for her. Hence, the famous sonata known as Moonlight Beethoven” is born!

It’s certainly a very quaint look at how Beethoven Moonlight Sonata was composed but… it’s also very untrue! One must also wonder why a story in which the music is the story becomes the subject of a silent film.

Mark Zimmer, of Unheard Beethoven, has provided the following information (thanks, Mark!):

David Shepard, owner of the Blackhawk Films library and veteran restorer of many silent films added some information regarding this interesting little film:

"Bell & Howell was the distributor of this and many other films in the early days of 16 mm. The film, BEETHOVEN, was made by James A. FitzPatrick (best known for travelogues) and was part of his Famous Music Masters Series. I haven't refreshed my memory with research but I think it was made about 1928, at the dawn of sound. This silent film had a music sound track adapted from Beethoven, I believe by the reliable Nathaniel Shilkret."

Moonlight Sonata

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Running time: 3 minutes, 1 second

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Moonlight Sonata

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