Organs in the Movies 

Interesting Article: Organists in Films

This page is a listing of Movies where an  ORGAN of one kind or another is featured. Those we can find on the net, have links to the places where they can be ordered. Links subject to change with stock. 

   Note:  [x] are  Source annotations -see end of file

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Abominable Dr. Phibes, The,, 1971, Vincent Price. Crazed Doctor has futuristic pipe organ he plays. 

All the Marbles , 1981, Harry manages The California Dolls, a female wrestling tag team endlessly touring America. Rodgers organ seen.

Angel in My Pocket, 1969, Andy Griffith is the New preacher comes to church, gets theatre organ from local theatre to increase attendance and improve church. Church burns down. Great scenes of the console, wonderful story overall. 

Annie, 1982 Albert Finney...Features a large concert organ in a mansion...good console shots...seems to have been partly shot at the Hubert Parsons estate, “Shadow Lawn “, in West Long Branch, N.J. with its pipe organ console in one of the balconies off the grand court. The organ is a 1928 4 man. Aeolian residence organ  w/ 4800 pipes. This firm primarily built pipe organs for the mansions of wealthy people, such as the Duponts, Vanderbuilts, G. Eastman(Kodak Co) etc. Most of these organs were equipped with roll- playing devices, as the majority of their clients were not organists. Then some of these clients actually hired well-known organists to play their residence organs on a regular basis. The Aeolian company's largest organ was made for the ballroom at Longwood Gardens(Dupont estate) in Kennet Sq.,PA in 1930 with about 10,000 pipes/ 4 manuals, and it is still maintained and heard in concerts. [%]

Arthur,1981, starring Dudley Moore. There is a brief shot of an organ in an actual church being played at Arthur's aborted wedding between him and a rich girl that he doesn't love. The 5 manual drawknob console (shown) appears to be the one at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal  Ch., NYC, for the 12,000 pipe Aeolian-Skinner organ, which is a rebuild of the former E.M. Skinner organ.  It is the largest organ in NYC.  Riverside Church’s 5 man. organ (an Aeolian-Skinner rebuild of an earlier Hook & Hastings )  is just slightly smaller and is also remembered for it's former long-term organist, Virgil Fox. [%] 

Bank Robber Starring Judge Reinhold (1993, I believe) IN the BANK lobby, a little old lady is doing something that hit too close to home. She is playing a Baldwin model 170 or 172 spinet organ, and the footage appears to be real live playing, and the sound is definitely the Baldwin organ. A real hoot. 

Bathing Beauty, 1944, Red Skelton , Esther Williams , and Ethel Smith . Ethel plays the Hammond a couple of times in this one. Including Tico Tico. 

Beethoven (1992)about a family dog that gets stolen. At the beginning the three kids are at a babysitter's house. While the youngest girl falls and almost drowns in the pool, the creepy babysitter is busy playing her loud electronic organ.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes, c.1970. Kim Hunter, James Franciscus, James Franciscus pounds on the console keys with the stock of a machine gun. 

Black Cat, The, 1934, starring Boris Karloff as the leader of a sect of devil worshippers, and Bela Lugosi in a role reversal as the hero. There are two shots of the organ being played, first by then bit actor John Carradine, and later by Karloff. 

Blues Brothers, Blues Brothers, 1980 starring Dan Akroid & John Belushi B-3 Hammond organ seen in "Church," "Cowboy Bar," and "Ballroom" scenes 

Bostonians, The(1984) starring Venessa Redgrave, Jessica Tandy, and Christopher Reeve. The movie (about the 1890's woman's suffrage movement) opens with an improvisation on "America" played on a 4 manual church tracker pipe organ, by British recital organist Nigel Allcoat. He is a master in the art of improvisation. This entire film sequence (lasting several minutes) shows the console at close range and also demonstrates Mr. Allcoat's expert pedal technique. You can see keys at the bass end of the Swell manual  indirectly moving, which shows that the Swell to Pedal coupler in this tracker (mechanical action) organ is activated. (You can also hear the "clatter" of the wooden key linkages). After this selection he continues with another organ piece, accompanied by an orchestra. The organ is not identified in the film credits, but Professor Allcoat  states that the organ is an outstanding 1872 "Father" Willis instrument at the Church of St. Augustine in Kilburn, England. (Kilburn is a part of London). This British movie was mostly filmed in the Boston, MA area, including at Harvard University, but no footage was shot of an organist playing at length, so Prof. Allcoat provided this solo work back in England,and it was added to the film. If an American tracker organ had been used (w/4 manuals), it could have been the Harvard Chapel (1967) Fisk, or the 1864  E & G.G. Hook at the Mechanics Hall, Worcester, MA. Nearer the end of the movie another pipe organ is heard playing "America", with a brief, partial console shot, but this organ can be identified from the pipe facade (and credits) as in the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, NY ( a wonderful 1890's 3 man. Odell tracker). As this organ was mostly inoperable in 1984, it is believed that the Hook organ at Mechanics Hall, Worcester was dubbed in. The Troy Music Hall organ was restored in 2006 by volunteers who worked tirelessly to make this organ usable for an up-coming organ convention. [%] 

Brief Encounter, 1945, Celia Johnson, includes a brief scene in a cinema with a comic lady playing a snatch of "March Militaire" on an 3 man. organ. WURLITZER used was Metropole, Victoria, London, UK. Organist (NOT the Lady) is James Whitebread... see J Courtnay book "Theatre Organ World" (Biography section) This console was originally a two manual in the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool no less !! 

Brittania of Billingsgate, Shows the 4 manual 15 rank Compton at the Gaumont Palace, Hammersmith, London coming up out of the pit and being played by Stanley Tudor 

Carnival of Souls, 1962,Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist. Actually about an organist. Part of film takes place in an organbuilder's shop (Reuter's in Lawrence, Kansas) 

The Carpetbaggers -- a 1920s actor gets rich and a scene or two are played against the background of his home theater organ.

Casper1995 staring Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman, contains an organ. In the library, there is a two or three manual theatre organ with a lot of exposed pipework. 

Castle in the Desert, 1942 ”, (a Charlie Chan mystery movie )shows a scene of a lady playing a bulky, large grand piano-sized instrument, but the sound is that of a pipe organ. It took me many years to realize that this was a real instrument and not a fake. It would have been a 1930's Estey Minuette Grand, which was really a 3 rank  organ w/ 230 pipes ( 2 manual with pedals ) in a large, modified, grand piano case. The pipes were mostly Haskell types to minimize their lengths, and a set of chimes was even included .(It cost $3,500.-a lot of money during the Great Depression ) This instrument also came in upright form. It was advertised in the Diapason magazine in the 1930’s in large,two page ads and was made by Estey Organ, Brattleboro, VT. [%]

Chappaqua1966 - Allen Ginsberg plays harmonium, chants. 

Children of Damned [GB], 1964, directed by Anton Leader, with Ian Hendry, Alan Badel, Barbara Ferris. It’s the sequel of "The Village of the Damned". A monumental victorian organ is always visible in the church where alien children are living.

Christmas Without Snow, 1980, Made for TV Movie Starring Michael Learned & John Houseman, takes place in San Francisco. As a new conductor tries to teach a church choir Handel's Messiah for Christmas, the angry son of the pastor destroys the pipe organ. After a hilarious attempt to replace it with an electronic organ, the choir bands together and restores the Pipe organ just in time for Christmas. 

Comedy of Terrors, The,1963, Shady funeral parlor directors Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, & Peter Lorre employ a wheezy reed organ at their establishment. 

Cuban Pete, 1946, Desi Arnaz, & Ethel Smith as Herself, playing "The Breeze and I" in this old black and white movie. She's at the Hammond , on a revolving turntable. Excellent sequence. 

Dead Ringer, 1964 directed by Paul Henreid staring Bette Davis (as both "good" & "evil" twin sisters) features a Bar Scene with a young lady "Playing" a B-3 Hammond (probably Andre Previn who did the music score playing organ [it sounds a little like his "Like Young" piano playing]) with a drummer and unseen bass player. 

Diary of Anna Magdalena Bach, The ["Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach", Germany/Italy, 1967] directed by Jean–Marie Strau_, with Gustav Leonhardt, Paolo Carlini, Christiana Lang; music by Johann Sebastian Bach entirely played by actors themselves (Concentus Musicus, dir. by Nikolaus Harnoncourt; Schola Cantorum Basilensis, dir. by August Wenzinger; Kanbenchor Hannover, dir. by Heinz Hennig; Orgel und Cembalo: Gustav Leonhardt). Gustav Leonhardt as J.S.Bach himself plays organs, directs choir and orchestra. Delightful.

Doucement les basses [France], 1971, directed by Jacques Deray, with Alain Delon, Paul Meurisse, Nathalie Delon. Rock music in the church scene: Alain Delon (in this film he is a priest) plays rock music on an Hammond organ .

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, 1932, starring Fredric March, who won an Oscar for Best Actor. The film opens showing the hands of Dr. Jekyll playing a three manual residence organ in a scene that lasts about two minutes. 

Dr. Phibes Rises Again,1972, Dr. Phibes packs up his organ & takes it with him to be installed in his new residence in Egypt. 

Dracula: dead and loving it, 1995, directed by Mel Brooks, with Leslie Nilelsen, Peer MacNicol, Steven Weber, Amy Yasbech, Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft, Ezio Greggio. Delightful scene of the "Organ Tango". You must see that movie for that scene!  

Ed Wood, 1994 Starring: Johnny Depp. A party scene features Korla Pandit, of all people, playing the Hammond, just like he did on TV in the fifties, when the film was set. 

Flirtation Walk, 1934, starring Dick Powell & Ruby Keeler (about West Point Military Academy) has a scene with a marriage in the Chapel (a mock up) and a pipe organ is heard, but it is surely not the huge organ at the real West Point Chapel, which is really a mini-cathedral.  The real (mostly Moller) Chapel organ was first installed in 1911 with a 3 man. console & 2000 pipes, and enlarged (by private donations from Cadets, alumni, and others ) through recent decades to over 23,500 pipes, with an extremely large 4 manual "rocker tablet" console (it's third), which was installed in 1950. A new solid-state combination action memory has recently been installed which provides for 64 levels of the 30 programmable General pistons and other divisional pistons. The 1920's-'30's tonal scheme of the organ was inspired by George A. Audsley, but since the 1970's the tonal scheme has been  modified to be more eclectic. Since 1911 additional pipework has been supplied by  Moller, Cavaille'-Coll, Bonavia-Hunt, Aeolian-Skinner, Stinkens, Bier and others.  In the 1930’s the organ  would have had about 8000 pipes. (no console is shown in the film). This organ was featured in a PBS TV special in 2005 called "America's Greatest Houses of Worship". [%]

Frances,In 1982 Jessica Lang played the leading role in a full-length feature movie biography of the life of actress Frances Farmer. She grew up in the Seattle area, and at one point in the film she is in a movie palace with a Wurlitzer playing. We not only hear it, but we get a view of it. It may be the Seattle Paramount. 

Front Page, 1974, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Susan Sarandon... Susan Sarandon's character in the film is a cinema organist...some very good shots of her playing for a picture. 

For some dollars more [Per qualche dollaro in piú, Italy, Spain, USA], 1965, directed by Sergio Leone, with Clint Eastwood, Lee van Cleef, Gian Maria VolontT, Mara Krup, Luigi Pistilli, Klaus Kinski, RoseMarie Dexter, Mario Brega. Music by Ennio Morricone. A western star is born: Clint Eastwood. Organ is perfectly utilised by Ennio Morricone in the "Duel in the abandoned church" scene: a carillon plays, interrupted by a splendid and dramatic "full organ" solo, replied by trumpet and drums, then newly the carillon... gunfight (and "The Indian", Gian Maria VolontT, kills "The Irish" Luigi Pistilli).

Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The, 1966, Don Knotts, Takes place in Kansas, the "ghost" plays the classical pipe organ in a deserted Victorian  mansion.  Scenes of the 2 man. console and pipework. (An explanation is given near the end of the movie that the former gardener was really in the pipe chamber, playing the organ from a tuning keyboard located near the pipes.  ) the console used in the Ghost & Mr. Chicken was a 2m Estey residence organ console. [%]

Ghost Breakers,1940, - with Bob Hope
used a real 18th c, Spanish organ with two keyboards added by the studio. The organ is now in the San Fernando Mission near L.A.

Giant, 1956, - with Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean and Rock Hudson, There was a two-manual horseshoe console shown in the Reata residence several times and fleetingly "played" on two occasions by Chill Wills ("Clair de Lune" by Debussy). The console was first dark- finished, but  near the film's end had a very light finish.  Display pipes were located at the rear of the first stair landing going from the living room to the second floor. The console seemed to look more like  Marr & Colton than  Wurlitzer, but was probably a studio concoction at any rate. The sound, however was most likely made by a Hammond. At another point in this film a wedding takes place in Elizabeth's child-hood home, at which time a classical pipe organ is heard to play the traditional wedding music, but no console or pipes are shown.  

Godfather II, 1974, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, with Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert DeNiro, John Cazale. Scene of the baptism: miscellanea of J.S. Bach organ music..

Great Race,The 1965, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon...Features a modified Wurlitzer console that the late Dave Junchen built for the picture.N.B a viewer writes: Dave Junchen didn't build this console up for the movie. It was constructed by Les and Olive Pepiot, Los Angeles area organ maintenance technicians. There is an extensive and explanatory article in The Console magazine which confirms this. GC

Haunted Mansion , The, 2003 starring Eddie Murphy, has a scene of a marriage with "Here Comes the Bride" played in a very dissonant fashion. A three manual drawknob console (probably a mock-up) is shown, but the organ's sound is apparently made by a classical pipe organ. {%]

Help, 1965, Beatles. Compton electrone rising from the apartment floor in the first 10 minutes. 

It is midnight, Dr. Schweitzer [Il est minuit, doctor Schweitzer, France], 1952, directed by AndrT Haguet, with Pierre Fresnay, Raymond Rouleau. The life of this very important man (1875-1965)that received the Nobel Price for Peace, and also had several (earned) doctorate degrees, including one in classical music. He was a leading authority on J.S.Bach and a master organist. [%]

La symphonic Pastorale (1948), Based on the novel by Andre' Gide, directed by Jean Delannoy with Michele Morgan. Pierre Blanchar and Jean Desailly. The pastor of a French Lutheran church falls in love with a blind girl he took care and asks his son Jacques (Jean Desailly) to teach her how to play the organ for the services. After Jacques returns from a trip to study organ performance, he plays Bach prelude from Prelude and Fugue in A minor BWV 543. Very good suspense and organ music...

Lady and the Tiger, The, '50s/'60s, British. A short, saw back in high school, as an adjunct to English short story stuff. Top-down shot of 4-manual horse-shoe console. 

Lilies of the Field -- a pump organ helps complete the interior of a nuns' new "shapel".

Last Year at Marienbad" (1961)This film uses almost exclusively organ music on its sound track. It's a puzzling film, and was a favorite on college campuses years ago. The music contributes well to the mood.

Lisztomania [GB], 1975, directed by Ken Russell, with Roger Daltrey, Sara Kestelman, Paul Nicholas, Fiona Lewis, Ringo Starr (as "the Pope"!); the life of Franz Liszt revisited and transformed by Russell’s personal vision

Little world of don Camillo, The [Don Camillo – Mondo Piccolo Italy/France], 1950, directed by Julien Duvivier, with Gino Cervi, Fernandel, Leda Gloria, Vera Falqui, Franco Interlenghi, Saro Urz8. Fernandel –as Rev Camillo– plays the Serassi organ in the Brescello Parish Church (a legend wants this organ played by Giuseppe Verdi: it may be, Busseto is near Brescello).

Lone wolf McQuade, 1983, directed by Steve Carver, with Chuck Norris, David Carradine, Barbara Carrera. Final, duel scene: the "Karate" match (Chuck Norris vs/ David Carradine) is accompanied by organ music. The plot, this scene and the music are inspired by "For some dollars more".

King of Marvin Gardens, The, 1972, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern & Ellen Burstyn in a movie which has a few shots of Ellen pretending to accompany a vocalist on the Atlantic City Convention Hall  (main) ) organ console, although the sound is Hammond. (see *)  The Convention Hall organ was built between 1929 and 1934 by Midmer-Losh and has about 30,000 pipes with a (main) 7 manual "tablet" console. It also has an auxiliary 5 manual tablet console, and has several blowers to supply the wind, totaling at least 400 hp.  A few of the reed stops are on 50 and 100 inch wind pressures, no less.   (*) This organ was completely out of commission for several decades and only since the mid  1990's have some restoration efforts taken place (which will cost several million dollars, if ever completed). Less than half of this organ is now playable. Shortly after the initial console shots, a real theatre pipe organ is heard during additional movie footage in the main hall, (seating 41,000 people ) which could have been made by the 1931 Kimball 4 man/ 55 rank organ in the ballroom of this gigantic building. It evidently has always been operational.   The Atlantic City High School also (once ) contained a 1924 Midmer-Losh, 5 man. classical organ w/ abt. 6000 pipes. All three of  these instruments were designed by the late U.S. Senator Emerson Richards, who even had a 140 rk, 8500 pipe Aeolian-Skinner 4 man. classical organ in his Atlantic City mansion, the last of 12 pipe organs in his residence.(The mansion and organ burned in 1958) [%]

Mad Love (1935) with Peter Lorre and Colin Clive. Lorre steals the show as a bald mad scientist, who is obsessed with "Galatea" and bringing a wax statue to life as the object of his afffection. Twice in the movie he serenades her on what passes for a mock-up of a French residential organ from times past.

Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)
This film portrays the life and legacy of Lon Chaney(played by James Cagney). In at least two scenes, background music for the filming of silent film scenes is furnished by two live musicians. One is a violinist and the other is a man playing a folding reed organ. The organ music is prominent. In the recreation of Lon's role as The Phantom of the Opera, the famous "unmasking scene" is portrayed. Cagney is seated on a rather ornate church-style bench at a large two manual console with rocker stoptabs and a single row of facade pipes. Convincing organ music is played by what is obviously a theater organ

Mannequin, 1987, Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall, Estelle Getty, James Spader. (Readers note:" I adore the movie Mannequin as it was shot at Wanamakers. However the Mannequin does not play the organ... the male lead does! I was rather dissapointed at that point in the movie..cuz of course..he had to walk in with a cape and sit down and act like he was playing in a "horror movie" fashion. Such a grand instrument with a bit part in that movie. the organ should have fought for more lines!!! "-A reader. The movie shows the Wanamaker Organ, (Phil, PA) with Andrew attempting to play . There are a few shots of the main pipe facade in the Grand Court, and an overhead view of console.  The Wanamaker organ was originally made in 1904 for the St. Louis Exposition (10,000 pipes), installed in the Wanamaker store in 1911, and enlarged by the Wanamaker organ shop over the next 20 years until it reached about 28,000 pipes. It's 3rd and current console has 6 manuals with rocker tablets. This instrument was highly praised by the late Virgil Fox.   In recent years this store has become a Lord & Taylors. This organ should not be be confused with the (also famous)  NYC Wanamaker Auditorium (Austin) organ which was enlarged circa 1920 to about 7000 pipes/ 4 manuals by the Wanamaker shop and removed/ discarded circa 1955. [%]

Man of Flowers, (1983) - Norman Kaye plays organ to relax after paying Alyson Best to disrobe while he watches. 

Mam’zelle Nitouche [France], 1931, directed by Marc AllTgret, with Raimu, Jainine Marese; then the remake [France, 1953] directed by Yves AllTgret (son of Marc), with Fernandel, Anna Maria Pierangeli [Pier Angeli], Louis de FunFs, Jean Debucourt. The plot: an organist has "a second personality": composer of Operettas... That’s all.

Man who knew too much, The, 1956, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, with James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie, Bernard Miles, Ralph Truman. Royal Albert Hall scene: music by Arthur Benjamin ("Storming Cloud" cantata; we see the organ played by Sir George Thalben-Ball.) -
From a reader: you are getting your "Man who knew too much" listings horribly confused

MWKTM (GB 35) starring Leslie Banks etc features 'Storm Clouds' cantata for soprano, choir & orchestra incl.George Thalben-Ball at the Albert Hall organ

MWKTM (US 56) remake of above featuring an edited Storm clouds cantata arranged & conducted by Bernard Herrmann - organist MAY still be Thalben-Ball

The Secret Agent (Hitchcock GB 36) spy thriller starring John Gielgud & Peter Lorre who discover the dead organist slumped over his keyboard

Hope this clarifies the issue


Man Who Knew Too  Much, The, 1935, starring Leslie Banks,  Edna Best  & Peter Lorre. This British spy film was the first movie with this title  directed  by Alfred Hitchcock. During the film some in the cast enter a large (real )church to meet their "contact" and hear a loud groaning from the pipe organ. When they proceed to the front of the nave they find the organist (presumably their contact)  slumped over the keyboards of a good-sized 3 or 4 manual console, dead, and this was why the organ's sound was so dissonant. (There are evidently major differences between the 1935 & 1956 versions of this film.) [%].

Medusa Touch,has some DARN good shots of the organ at York Minster being played.

Melody Time, 1948, Just re-released in 1998,This is a Walt Disney Animated film with a substantial piece with Ethel Smith playing the Hammond Organ. Organ blown up by cartoon characters using TNT. A must have for any Hammond Lover. 

Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, 1997,Kevin Spacey, John Cusack. Story Takes place in Savannah, GA, prominent classical organ in the mansion is played briefly, curtains open revealing pipework. 

Minority Report , Starring Tom Cruise has 2 scenes featuring an Allen George Wright 319 with fake pipes playing "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring". The movie takes place in 2054. Does this mean Spielberg thinks the organ of the future will be a Theatre Organ? 

Montecassino Abbey [Montecassino nel cerchio di fuoco Italy], 1946, directed by Arturo Gemmiti, with Zora Piazza, Ubaldo Lay, Fosca Freda [music by various authors and by Rev. Luigi De Sario, played by himself on the ancient Cesare Catarinozzi organ [1696] destroyed by American bombs)

Moro affair, The [Il caso Moro, Italy], 1986, directed by Giuseppe Ferrara, with Gian Maria VolontT, Margarita Lozano, Mattia Sbragia. Via Fani (kidnapping) scene: J.S.Bach organ music (pedal solo of C minor Preludium)

My Summer Story, 1994, Charles Grodin, Mary Steenburgen, Kieran Culkin MGM/UA- A compilation of some of Jean Shepherd's hilarious stories about growing up in the Midwest. Of interest to the TO fan is the retelling of "Leopold Doppler and the Great Orpheum Gravy Boat Riot", including the rising console and the community sing. 

Nothing But Trouble, 1991, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Demi Moore. Trapped in a mad house in Valkenvania, the Judge plays the pipe organ with the "Digital Underground". 

Parallax View, 1972, directed by Alan J. Pakula, with Warren Beatty, Paula Prentiss, Jim Davis and Joan Lemmo; Joan Lemmo as "the organist", one of the characters.

Pink Panther Strikes Again, The, 1976, Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom. Herbert Lom's 2nd console appearance, the first was in the 1964 version of the Phantom. In this case he is Clouseau's demented ex-boss now turned into an evil scientist trying to take over the world just to get even with the inept inspector. The film was partially shot in France and there are several views of a classical pipe organ with a Cavaille'-Coll styled, 3 man. French terraced drawknob console, although the sound is most likely  not made by this instrument. Herbert's final number at the organ  is Tiptoe Through the Tulips, played as he dematerializes. [%]

Phantom of the Opera Lon Chaney, 1925 The phantom lives deep down in the fifth sub-cellar of the Paris Opera House where he plays his organ.

Phantom of the Opera, 1962 Herbert Lom, Heather Sears...Features a small self contained organ in the sewers again... organ is used quite a bit. 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest 2006, Jack owes an unpaid debt to Davy Jones and his army of sea-phantoms...his soul. Now, he must find a way to save himself from becoming one of them, and suffering forever ...Davy Jones is playing a horseshoe console with all 8 of his octopus arms! Captain Nemo type music

The Phantom of the Opera 1998, starring Robert Englund and Jill Schoelen. Erik Destler, The Phantom (Robert Englund) has a 1 manual organ in his lair deep below the opera house which he uses to accompany Christine's singing, and play solo. The sound of it, however, is more like a massive church instrument 

A Place in the Sun -- portable pump organ played on sidewalk.

A Private Function, 1985, Michael Palin, Maggie Smith. Maggie 'plays' 3 manual Compton for cinema intermission, with mother sitting on end of bench as they rise out of pit. 

Radioland Murders, 1994, Brian Benben. Mary Stuart Masterson. Ned Beatty. George Burns, At station WBN the Hits just keep coming. People dropping dead during a live broadcast, the show must go on, several shots of the organ and organist. 

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, 1938, Shirley Temple, wonderful movie in which she shares a scene in a radio studio with the "relief organist" sitting at a Theatre Organ console. The organist is always ready to jump in but the next act or whatever always shows up just in time to go on. later on, when there really is a "no-show" and he has to play,...he faints dead away!

Return of the Vampire, 1943 movie with Bela Lugosi as a vampire (not Dracula). The lady doctor plays a mock-up of a residential pipe organ while a 1930's Hammond with the Chorus drawbar is dubbed in. She pulls the music off the music rack and a illuminated Cross appears driving off the vampire.

Rhinestone ,Sylvestor Stallone, Dolly Parton. Stallone's character, a cabbie, meets Dolly Parton in an accident. (he's a bad driver) His father owns a mortuary where he shows Dolly his (ahem) organ. Very funny scenes. He plays Tutti Fruitti during a funeral.

Rocky III, 1982, Sylvester Stallone. Boxing match in Vegas has 3 manual Rodgers on side wall playing. 

Sabots’ tree [L’albero degli zoccoli, Italy], 1978, directed by Ermanno Olmi, with not–professional actors; music by Johann Sebastian Bach played by Fernando Germani, Golden Palm at Cannes; it is perhaps the only one film accompanied exclusively by organ. You can see the film without translation (players speak the language of Bergamo –the city of Gaetano Donizetti– that is an idiom spoken only there and completely obscure even if for Italians): the plot is extremely clear and Bach organ music (perfectly played) provides to explain it.

Santa Claus the Movie1986, At one point, well-meaning (but naive and sloppy) elfin mechanical engineer Patch (Dudley Moore) is shown playing a large, tinkertoy-looking organ, to entertain the factory elves. 

RollerBall 1975, has classical organ music playing in the introductory scenes. [%] 

Scorpio, 1973 An espionage thriller starring Burt Lancaster as an ex-CIA operative called back for one last assignment -- part way through the film he meets with one of his contacts in the America On Wheels roller rink in Alexandria VA. When the film was made, it was the home of the ex-Center Theatre NYC 4/34 Wurlitzer (little sister to the Radio City Music Hall organ). The several-minute scene begins with close-ups of the unenclosed pipes and percussions and of Jimmy Boyce playing at that fabulous Deco console, then cuts to the men talking at the edge of the rink with skaters and organ behind. Boyce plays throughout the scene. 

Shine, 1996, Starring: Geoffrey Rush,is another movie that contains good shots and playing of organs. The movie is about the once forgotten concert pianist David Helfgott 

Sissi the young Kaiserin [Austria], 1956, directed by Ernst Marischka, with Romy Schneider, Karl–Heinz Böhm, Magda Schneider, Vilma Degischer. Coronation scene (filmed in the Cathedral of Wien). That scene reproduced faithfully an historic event: Kaiser Franz Joseph and Kaiserin Elisabeth ("Sissi") were crowned King and Queen of Hungary in 1867 in the "Máthyás TTmplom" (church of the coronations) of BudaPest, for that occasion Franz Liszt wrote and directed "The Coronation Mass" (that is partly played in the film).

Smallest Show On Earth, The, 1957, Margaret Rutherford, Peter Sellers...A young couple inherit an aging cinema in England...they go to a Gaumont theatre and see and hear a large Compton played for intermission. 

Sound Of Music, 1965, directed by Robert Wise , with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker, Richard Haydn, Nicholas Hammond, Peggy Wood. The Marriage scene (filmed in the Cathedral of Graz) begins with a zoom on the organ and the leitmotiv played as a wedding march.

Spaceballs , 1987, Mel Brooks. Organ specifically in Princess Vespa's wedding scenes at the beginning [to Prince Vallium] and end [to Lone Star] of the picture. 

Streets of Fire , 1984,Starring: Michael ParT, Diane Lane, et al. The movie "Streets of Fire" shows an organ at the end of the movie, when the girls sings the songs about angels and boys. for a movie that show a band playing instruments they sure did show the B-3 alot. Well not alot but enough for anyone in love with Hammonds to get more than a glimps of it. 

Sunshine even by night [Il sole anche di notte, Italy], 1990, directed by Paolo & Emilio Taviani, with Julian Sands, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Nastassja Kinski. Holy Mass scene: music by Antonio Vivaldi (D minor adagio, organ translation by J.S.Bach) played on a Vegezzi-Bossi organ (1910).

Sunset Boulevard,1950, - Erich von Stroheim plays part of the Bach "Toccata & Fugue in D Minor" on a 2 man. residence pipe organ(mockup)in Gloria Swanson's mansion.   [%]

Swiss Miss, 1938, directed by John G. Blystone, with Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Della Lind, Walter Woolf King. Very enjoying scene of the soaped water in the pipes of the house-organ, that plays… soap balls! In the same movie, Stan & Oliver have to cross a wood bridge with a piano and a gorilla…  

Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon,circa 1969, directed by Otto Preminger and starring Liza Minelli. A movie about people with special needs etc. Much of the film was shot in the Gloucester and Manchester by the Sea, MA area, and includes a few interior views of the famous Hammond Castle in Magnolia. This medieval-styled stone castle was constructed in the 1920's by the late John Hays Hammond, a prolific electronics inventor of radar equipment and other types of devices (no relation to the Hammond Organ Co. of Chicago). In the Great Hall of this elaborate building is a 4 manual, 133 rank, 8000 pipe organ (with a symphonic tonal design) which was enlarged over the years, with pipes from various bulders, including E.M. Skinner, and Great division mixtures by Aeolian-Skinner. In the 1940's a 6 rank baroque division was added under the direction of virtuoso Richard Ellsasser, who often gave concerts on this instrument. Two LP recordings were made of this organ on the Nonesuch label, by him, shortly before his death in 1972. The organ is one of the largest residence organs in the U.S. and once contained a roll-player, and a "dynamic accentuator", which was an invention of Mr. Hammond's to make pipe organs louder or softer than they actually were. After a new foundation, under the direction of Virgil Fox, took over control of the castle in the late 1970's, a new 4 man.console was constructed to Mr. Fox's design. I do not believe that the organ is heard in this movie. Unfortunately this instrument has fallen into disuse in recent years due to the high cost of maintaining this large building, itself. (This film is not listed on the Amazon website, but the book is listed). [%]

They Might Be Giants, 1971 George C. Scott plays a Sherlock-Holmes-like sleuth with Joanne Woodward as his Watson -- in one scene they walk into a big old movie palace and have a chat in the balcony while the "movie" plays. The theatre is the Brooklyn Fox, and as I recall the scene opens with a long shot of the auditorium showing the console of the 4/37 Wurlitzer in the pit. The film was shot just before the building was razed, and it had not been used for a number of years. 

The Friendly Persuasion -- a sort of reed organ movie.

Those Ghosts [Questi fantasmi, Italy/French], 1967, directed by Renato Castellani, with Sophia Loren, Vittorio Gassman, Aldo GiuffrT, Margaret Lee, Mario Adorf. The plot dates from the comedy by Eduardo De Filippo. The marriage was located in the Carmine Maggiore Basilica in Naples (where Masaniello started the 1647 revolution). We can see the ancient "twin" organs (Felice Cimino, 1714) and –on the west end– the 3 manual organ (Francesco Mascia, 1907) on which Marco Enrico Bossi and above all Franco Michele Napolitano played several concerts (it was enlarged, modified and coupled to ancient organs by Giuseppe Ruffatti, 1975)

Trouble with Angels, The ,In the first 20 minutes or so of the film, the two main characters come out of Mother Superior's office and spy a large Victorian reed organ(with fake pipe top as was common). One of the girls remarks: "Dig that crazy accordian." The organ is seen a few more times in quick shots of the main entrance lobby of the convent/ boarding school. Submitted by: Br. Joseph Havrilka , St. Louis, Missouri

Tony Rome, 1967, Frank Sinatra, 3-manual Wurlitzer Console in large living room 

Twelve Monkeys, 1995. Joseph Melito, Bruce Willis. The pipe facade of the Wanamaker Organ makes a very
brief appearance (see "Mannequin" movie for info on this organ ) 

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ,1954 James Mason, Kirk Douglas...Captain Nemo plays a lot of modified Bach while doing soul searching under the ocean. As a side light this console can now be seen in California's Disneyland ride "Haunted Mansion" in the ball room. 

Valley of Gwangi, The An Allosaurus that has escaped from a Mexican circus chases James Franciscus into a church. The church had a large organ in the Spanish style complete with "trompetas". Someone taking refuge in the loft sounded the instrument. I wonder who was pumping the bellows? Maybe there was still a little wind left in the reservoir from the last service! 

Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988. Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Theatre Scene (shot in Britain) shows 3-manual console in orchestra pit plus the band organ in the climax of the whole picture. 

Woman of the Year, (1942) -- Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn; Katharine goes in and fires up a Hammond D and plays a tune. 

"Yanks", 1979, Richard Gere, The organ is featured in England for a sing-a-long in a Cinema.  The location for the clip featuring the cinema organ was the Davenport Theatre, Stockport, England. The organ was a Compton ( British made ) pipe organ, and the organist was Bolton born Ronald Curtis. The cinema was demolished many years ago.

Younger And Younger Starring Donald Sutherland 1993 A very strange film, but "starring" a Wurlitzer pipe organ installed in a U-Lock-It type warehouse, with Donald Sutherland shown as the organist, but not much organ music, but no list would be complete without this film. 


Made For TV Movie :   "FACTS OF LIFE",(sitcom)  circa  1980 
The TV cast travels to Sydney, Australia and some of them get to "doodle" on the 5 manual German tracker pipe organ in the famous sail-shaped Sydney Opera House, constructed in the 1970's. [%] 

TV Curiosties Outside of America 

In several TV-Movies and "Soap–operas" organs are utilised. I wish to remember two of those, in which organs are important in the plot.

Series: "Inspektor Derrick" (Germany, 1979–1996); the "Adagio case": the solution was inspired by an old LP in which is recorded Bach’s "Adagio" (from Toccata, Adagio and Fugue) played by Albert Scweitzer.

mini-series "Il Segno del Comando" (Italy, 1975); a mystery is jointed to an ancient organ piece ("Vexilla Regis prodeunt inferni" psalm). That piece is played on a very ancient Positive Organ by Fernando Germani.

Pipe organs are perfectly played in several Japanese toons. I wish to remember two of those, in which organs are important in the plot.

"Daitarn III the Space Robot" (1977): one of enemy robot was controlled by a large 3 manual organ; the duel is accompanied by Bach’s "D minor Toccata and Fugue BWV 565" entirely played!

"Danguard the Space Robot" (1978): enemies’ chief (Dr Doppler) plays usually a large 4 manual organ, and his "theme" is a dark "Chaconne".

"Ryu the prehistoric hero" (1980): two dinosaurs match scene was accompanied by Bach’s "G minor Fantasia and Fugue BWV 542" entirely played!

Annotation: the well-known French organist Jean Guillou composed music for several French films. It exists a film music of which is entirely improvised by him. There is someone that know the name of this?

[ Ý ] movie or annotation signaled by, and information by Dr. Graziano Fronzuto, Rome, Italy.

% ] movie or annotation signaled by, and information by Don Belben, church organist, organ historian, Boston, MA .

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