Lost soundtrack to famous pre-WWII Polish movie found

The soundtrack to “Janko Muzykant” (“Janko the Musician”) a movie by Ryszard Ordyński from 1930 has turned up in a private collection in Italy, the Filmoteka National Audiovisual Institute (FINA) reported.

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“Janko Muzykant” was one of the first full-length movies produced in Poland with a soundtrack.

An issue of the film weekly “Kino” from 1930 contains pictures of the soundtrack to the film being prepared. “One can see in it the interior of a recording studio (and) actors Witold Conti and Maria Malicka,” Dorota Zajel, director of FINA’s promotional department, told Polish Press Agency (PAP).

“Next to her stands Grzegorz Fitelberg, in the background a screen can be seen on which a picture is being projected. It was Grzegorz Fitelberg and Leon Schiller composing the music to ‘Janko Muzykant,’” she added.

“Janko Muzykant” was filmed in Warsaw and its surroundings and later had the soundtrack added in a studio in Berlin.

In the film by Mr Ordyński, the songs were sung by the characters for the first time in the history of Polish film. It is not known why the soundtrack was recorded in Berlin as there was a studio in Warsaw where film soundtracks were recorded onto gramophone records, including for “Moralność pani Dulskiej” (“Mrs Dulska morality”), a 1930 film for which the soundtrack was also lost.

Janko Muzykant had its debut on November 8, 1930, with the music recorded onto a gramophone record. After WWII, the soundtrack disappeared and the score was not saved.