Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Forgotten Movies: Young Man with a Horn



Taking advantage of our new Criterion/Filmstruck Channel, we ended up watching this last week. I don't think I had ever seen it and it reminded me how Kirk Douglas had some acting chops back in the day. He was very convincing as a musician. Doris Day plays the good girl/Lauren Bacall, the bad and Hoagy Carmichael is his long time pal. The film gets a little murky about 2/3 through. Not sure what exactly brought him back from the brink. Maybe just the love of some good friends. Lots of great music, and lots of well-filmed scenes. I have the novel somewhere. Maybe that will spell it out a bit better. Hollywood did impose strictures on movies in the forties and fifties.

What are some of the great films about musicians? Or novels? 

21 comments:

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

And both Kirk and Doris are still alive!

Musicians? Off the top of my head: COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER. RAY. THE COMMITMENTS.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I wouldn't call it great, but I remember enjoying PARIS BLUES with Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, and a great bit by Louis Armstrong. The movie was filmed in Paris and is worth seeing again just for that. Duke Ellington did the music. The plot? American musicians living in Paris - the racism of the time was a prime reason - meet and romance school teachers Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll, though apparently United Artists punked out of the original novel and screenplay being about the interracial romance, so the black couple and white couple end up together.

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, I hadn't seen this one before, Patti! It looks interesting, though.

pattinase (abbott) said...

All good, Jeff.

George said...

ONCE
AMADMEUS
THE BLUES BROTHERS
THE COMMITMENTS

Rick said...

Supposedly very handsome jazz trumpeter Chet Baker had agreed--maybe had even signed--to play the lead. Then he was busted for heroin possession.
(Rick Libott)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Well, Kirk pulled it off. The acting was probably more important than the playing but would have loved to see Chet in the part.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Whiplash
A Hard Day's Night
This Is Spinal Tap
Almost Famous
8 Mile
The Pianist
Buddy Holly Story
Sid and Nancy
Inside Llewlyn Davis
Velvet Goldmine
Still Crazy

pattinase (abbott) said...

Have seen all of these except Velvet Goldmine.

Charles Gramlich said...

As you probably would expect, I haven't seen it

Rick Robinson said...

I’ll add to those already mentioned, JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY, documentary about the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival.

Anonymous said...

I remember really enjoying 'Round Midnight starring jazz great Dexter Gordon.
Mark S.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have that CD somewhere, Mark. Going to look for it. Great one.
Wouldn't I love to see that doc, Rick.

Rick Robinson said...

Patti, it's available on Netflix

Rick said...

Patti, if you have any interest in Chet Baker try to locate the brilliant 1988 B&W documentary on him “Let’s Get Lost”. A near-great artist and a very bad man.
The toll of drugs and his scuffling junkie lifestyle on his looks is by itself a wordless cautionary tale. He burnt everyone who ever trusted or relied on him.

While it’s not exactly fun, I can’t recommend “Let’s Ger Lost” highly enough...

Rick said...

(Rick Libott)

Todd Mason said...

ALL NIGHT LONG is a fine OTHELLO reworking in the UK jazz scene of 1960 or so. They might have it up on FilmStruck: http://socialistjazz.blogspot.com/2012/10/short-film-nothing-personal.html

CATCH US IF YOU CAN (in the US as HAVING A WILD WEEKEND), the John Boorman/Dave Clark 5 suspense/satire film in the wake of HARD DAY'S... http://socialistjazz.blogspot.com/2010/06/june-forgotten-music-film-catch-us-if.html

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS is still the best film about The Runaways...Diane Lane and Laura Dern playing correspondents to the teens in that band...

DIVA suffers from being not remotely believable, but it's stylish enough for a viewing.

I'm not sure I've seen a film which gets across the appeal of the music (and the goofiness of the business and ego around classical music as a corporate entity) better than the first season of MOZART IN THE JUNGLE.

There are so many horribly overrated films dealing with music, such as O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU and the Penelope Spheeris films...Jon Moritsugu's films come to mind thus, too (perhaps it doesn't help we didn't get along in high school...true of Rod Lurie as well, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't've liked the films of either anyway).

But so many wondrous documentaries...A GREAT DAY IN HARLEM...1959: THE YEAR THAT CHANGED JAZZ...NEW YORK EYE AND EAR CONTROL is more a curio than a documentary, but simultaneously a tour of NYC in 1964, accompanying a silhouette puppet, while a major work of free jazz is improvised by a group put together by Albert Ayler. Many, many others.

Albeit peripherally, but ANATOMY OF A MURDER comes to mind.


Todd Mason said...

THE MAGIC FLUTE...and if we'll admit dance films, THE COMPANY.

Todd Mason said...

One that almost no one overrates, and which deserves all the hostility it engenders, is the film of THE SUBTERRANEANS, which suffered enormously from the kind of Hollywoodization that you and Jeff describe above. Completely losing the interracial romance, one is almost tempted to write Of Course, along with most of what was interesting about the novella.

Having just seen, or slogged through to the end, BUS RILEY'S BACK IN TOWN, and thinking of the film of THE SUBTERRANEANS, I can see why you tend to disregard the '60s as a film decade, I still think too hastily, given how much talent and opportunity was being wasted in so many "mainstream" releases in the decade, so many of them tone-deaf soap opera at best. But even the majors managed to cough up THE HUSTLER and such around the edges, and films with notable strengths along with their flaws such as HUD.

Todd Mason said...

Stuff I was present for: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6dKbYaCYEE SALAD DAYS: A DECADE OF PUNK IN WASHINGTON 1980-1990

URGH! A MUSIC WAR isn't too shabby for sampling, as well.

DON'T LOOK BACK and MONTEREY POP, of course. I like how much the former isn't a flattering portrait of Dylan.

Mike Dennis said...

I read the novel many years ago, and I've seen the film many times over the years. They filled me with inspiration to become a professional musician, which is what I did.