Monday, April 14, 2008

I've seen too many movies

Last night, I was interested in seeing TCM's airing of Rhapsody in Blue, never having seen it before. Unfortunately, I was busy doing the dinner dishes and missed Robert Osborne's introduction and the opening credits. However, as I was watching the movie, the first time George Gershwin visited music professor Otto Franck, I immediately said to myself, without even hearing the good professor speak, "That's Albert Bassermann!" Sure enough, I was right. Charles Coburn as music publisher Max Dreyfus was much easier to spot, but then, Coburn is rather more famous, having won an Oscar.

As for the movie itself, the music is lovely, but we have Gershwin himself to thank for that. Much like The Glenn Miller Story or Alexander's Ragtime Band (which is based on the music of Irving Berlin), it's easy to have a great soundtrack when you're doing a movie on the work of a great composer or musician. Apparently, however, according to Robert Osborne's remarks after the movie, much of the story as presented, especially the love triangle, is complete fiction. Also, the print TCM showed looked as if it had seen better days, which is somewhat surprising for a prestige movie from a studio that would be in the "Turner library".

If anything, though, I guess it's a sign of what a film geek I'm becoming that I'm able to recognize the character actors when they show up. By the same token, when TCM showed Hedy Lamarr's Come Live With Me last week, I was on the lookout for Donald Meek and Barton MacLane.

Sadly, Rhapsody in Blue is not available on DVD, so you can't check it out for yourself until the next time TCM show it.

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