Before its absorption into Carl Laemmle's IMP company, Chicago-based Phoenix films turned out a handful of interesting if not altogether successful one-reelers. Phoenix's second release was the 1909 drama A Broken Melody. A blind, poverty-stricken violinist is in love with a beautiful, wealthy, crippled girl. The heroine arranges for an operation that will restore the violinist's sight then has second thoughts, worrying that she will not be able to hold his love once he finds out that she's physically challenged. After regaining his sight, the violinist calls on the girl, only to be told that she refuses to seem him. Frantically, he rushes around the house, playing his violin in hopes of coaxing the girl from her hiding place. The couple is at last reunited, but the strain is too much for the girl, who promptly dies. Not realizing that his sweetheart has expired, the violinist launches into a rendition of her favorite melody -- only to discover that he has suddenly and inexplicably lost his talent. A chopped-up, gagged-up version of Broken Melody later appeared in the 1949 compendium film Make Mine Laughs.
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