Syncopation (1942)

Syncopation (1942)

Released: 1942
Genre: Comedy, Genre, History, Music
Director: William Dieterle
Starring: Bonita Granville, Jackie Cooper, Adolphe Menjou, ,
Run time: 88 min
IMDb: 6.5/10
Country: USA
Views: 184243


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.
Written by
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.

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