Covering a quarter-century of American ‘syncopated” music (Ragtime, Jazz, Swing, Blues, Boogie Woogie)from prior to WWI through prohibition, the stock-market crash, the depression and the outbreak of WWII. A romance between singer Kit Latimer, from New Orleans, and Johnny Schumacher, in which they share and argue over musical ideas ensues. Prior to the making of the film RKO held a contest for the readers of ‘The Saturday Evening Post” to vote on the musicians to make up the All-American Dance Band featured in the film; the magazine’s readers chose, in the above-the-title listing: Charlie Barnet, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Jack Jenney. Gene Krupa, Alvino Rey, Joe Venuti, and singer Connee Boswell.
Les Adams <[email protected]>
User Reviews: Previous comments size this one up pretty well; it has jazz strengths, story weaknesses, and jazz weaknesses.
But it has jazz, so it’s obviously better than movies that do not. 😉
Somewhat surprised there have been no mentions of the film’s clearly dismissive treatment of the "symphonic jazz" maestro "Ted Browning", a full-on swipe at a certain real-life caucasian bandleader with an ironic surname who profited handsomely from the music while bringing relatively little to it himself.
But set aside whether the character’s model merits the derision; "Ted Browning" seems almost too close to TOD Browning, the name of the director of both Dracula and Freaks, to have been a purely coincidental choice.
That you’d essentially name the bandleader of an orchestra that was clearly depicted as sucking the life from jazz musicians after the director of a vampire movie feels like another small point in favor of this seldom-shown movie.