Harmonica and movies -  a scene from the tresaure of sierra madre

When did harmonica make its first appearance in cinema? Which countries around the world have embraced harmonica for film making the most? We'll get to know more relevant material in current article.

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In a previously published article of the same section, we received a detailed orientation on harmonica usage for big screen and TV after solid research on the topic, and we gathered up that harmonica has been broadly used for soundtracks as well as for the background music featuring protagonists prominently. In the United States, where blues Harp is a wide spread musical instrument which is adored by every class of citizens; sometimes it's played by gunslinger vagabonds as well as elegant gentlemen or by some kid on the street.  Now I'll present four other films that were produced between 1948 and 1962.


This film - produced in 1948 - was directed by John Huston casting Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt to name a few. The plot focuses few men embarked on an expedition to the Mexican mountains in search of gold. In fact the gold will be ultimately found but there's an uprising revolt, witnessed among its main heros to seize the loot. A raid by Jim Cody (another gold researcher) and other characters including a gang of robbers with their leader named 'Gold Hat' adds fuel to the fire. The movie ends with all the powdered gold, accumulated in bags and driven by mules, returning to the mother earth where it belonged, after it blew away by wind.


This film was directed by George Stevens in 1953 and Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Helfin and Brandon De Wilde, could be recognized as the most famous ones among its main actors. The movie depicts the story of a lonely knight named Shane coming down from the Wyoming Mountains and meeting the Starrett family inhabiting a valley. The man meets head of the family and his wife, later joins the graces at the supper where he offers to work for them on the farm. Shane then decides to give hand to the family, in their defense against oppression by wealthy Ryker who wanted to become the lord of the valley, and even tries to buy all the lands with force. There is a clipping of this film where a viewer witnesses a funeral scene, and recognoizes funereal version of the audio 'Dixie' being p1ayed on a harmonica in the background.

Muovie scene from Shane


This film featuring John Wayne, Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson was directed by Howard Hawks in 1959. As majority of the films, which assimilated harmonica generated music, were created in USA, like wise this work is assumed to be originated as a western genre. The plot boasts of a brave sheriff who faces the band of evil Nathan Burdette, a typical rich man who wants to rule everyone. Some of the characters assisting alongside sheriff John are: his drunken deputy sheriff, a beat-up old man named Stumpy and Colorado: a young gunman. The team is later joined also by a fascinating gambler d'hazard named Feathers, played by Angie Dickinson. The harmonica in this film is played by the character Stumpy, an elderly half-crippled friend of sheriff played by Walter Brennan.

Muove scene with harmonica from Rio Bravo


This movie, launched in 1962, was directed by Howard Hawks. Among its protagonists, John Wayne, Elsa Martinelli, Hardy Kruger and Red buttons were the most famous.

The plot takes us to Tanzania where a group of researchers captures animals to sell them to zoo keepers and to ruin natural reserves scattered abroad. The group will be later joined by a French hunter named Charles Maurey in place of one of the men who got injured during the capture of a large rhino. History could not miss the incursion of a woman named Anna Maria D'Alessandro, an Italian photographer, played by Elsa Martinelli who works for a Swiss zoo and who is sent there to prepare a report on animal capture. In this movie, you get the chance to watch a beautiful clipping in which a piano and harmonica duet is being played joyously.

Muovie scene with harmonica form Hatari!

These were four exemplary films where the main characters were shot either playing harmonica themselves ,or with its soundtrack being played in the background. It's not difficult to comprehend that western culture was strong at that time which is quite evident by the coexistence of such group of people and the small instrument.

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