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Western Animation / The Violinist

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The Violinist is a 1959 animated short film (8 minutes) directed by Ernest Pintoff.

Harry is a diwmitted but affable young man who dreams of being a violinist. Unfortunately, he's terrible at it, playing only dissonant notes. He goes around the city trying to entertain people on the streets, but he's only mocked and embarrassed. Finally Harry goes to a violin teacher, who tells him that to be a great violinist he has to play with feeling, and to play with feeling, he must suffer. So Harry sets out to suffer, starving himself, letting his beard grow out. It works—sort of.

Carl Reiner provided all the voices.



  • Be Yourself: The moral of the story. Harry starves himself, he lets his beard grow, and he stops doing all the other things he enjoys, like eating meat on the subway or chasing birds. It works, as Harry becomes a gifted violinist—but now nobody wants to listen to him because he's so ugly. So Harry gives up, and goes back to shaving and eating and doing the things he likes to do, like playing violin badly.
  • Blowing a Raspberry: The man on the street who heckles Harry does this when Harry insists he can play beautifully.
  • Dreadful Musician: Harry, who makes everyone around him cringe when he plays his violin.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    • The woman who strolls up to Harry in the street and says "Hi, good looking," is coded to be a prostitute.
    • At the end of the credits Felix the dog is staring intently at a fire hydrant.
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  • Job Title: The Violinist. He's bad.
  • Limited Animation: Most of the short is drawn against plain, featureless backgrounds.
  • Narrator: Harry's talking dog Felix narrates the story.
  • Streetwalker: A streetwalker approaches Harry and says "Hi, good looking." Even she's grossed out by his bad violin playing.
  • Talking Animal: Felix the dog speaks in an upper-class RP British accent. He also likes to play fetch and to bite people on the leg.
  • Thick-Line Animation: Done with the thick line drawing style made famous in that era by UPA.
  • This Loser Is You: Harry isn't very smart and he isn't very talented and he's kind of weird. But he's determined.

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