DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

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DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

mikeydv
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BY 1950, WARNER BROTHERS HAD A MAJOR MUSIC STAR ON THEIR HANDS, AND FRANKLY, THEY REALLY DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH HER. TRUST ME: HAD SHE BEEN SIGNED UP WITH A  MAJOR ORGANIZATION LIKE MGM AT THE TIME, HER STATUS OF TOP BOX OFFICE STAR OF ALL TIME WOULD HAVE BEEN EVEN MORE FIRMLY ENTRENCHED, IF POSSIBLE.
That said, Doris was under contract, and it was time to star her in another movie, her 4th in 2 years. Warners also had Doris’ first director, Michael Curtis, under contract. Then had  a script which had a part for a female singer who traveled with a band before she became famous on her own.(sound familiar? Of course, that part corresponds to Doris’ own career.) So what happened? She ended up becoming second banana to a trumpet.  Yes, in YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN, the picture’s real star is The Trumpet of Harry James. And why do I say that?  Because the film is loosely based on the life of Bix Biderbecke, who was a famous jazz musician.  Harry James became the voice of the trumpet and Kirk Douglas became his on screen persona.  The real co-star was Lauren Bacall in a part that makes you want to just slap her face…again and again. And yet again. And while at it, one feels like slapping Douglas as well for overlooking Doris and ignoring his best friend, “Smoke” (played by Hoagy Carmichael.) As you can guess, he learns his lesson by the end of the story, but not easily. The most memorable thing about the whole film?  The music.  
The music? Superb…simply superb.  It produced a #1 album of the year with Doris and Harry James.  There were 4 solos for Doris with Harry and the Band, and 4 strictly instrumentals.  In fact, Doris and Harry performed so well together that Columbia released a two sided single at the same time, “Lullabye of Broadway” backed with “Would I Love You, Love You, Love You”, both of which reached the top of the hit parade.  And now…back to the story.
It is based on a book with the same title written by Dorothy Baker.  The plot revolves around a young boy, Rick Martin (Douglas).   After his mother dies, Rick sees a trumpet in the window of a pawn shop. He works in a bowling alley to save up enough money to buy it.
He grows up to be an outstanding musician, tutored by jazzman Art Hazzard,  and lands a job playing for the big band of Jack Chandler, getting to know the piano player Smoke Willoughby (Hoagy Carmichael) and the beautiful singer Jo Jordan (Doris). Chandler orders him to always play the music exactly as written. Rick prefers to improvise, and one night, during a break with Chandler's band, he leads an impromptu jam session, which gets him fired.
Jo has fallen for Rick and finds him a job in New York with a dance orchestra. One night, her friend Amy North (Bacall) accompanies her to hear Rick play. Amy, studying to be a psychiatrist, is a complicated young woman, still disturbed by her own mother's suicide. She claims to be incapable of feeling love, but she and Rick begin an affair and eventually are married.
Rarely together at the same time because of the hours they keep, Rick and Amy constantly quarrel. She fails in her attempt to become a doctor and takes it out on Rick, demanding a divorce. He begins drinking, and his mood deteriorates to such a degree that one day he even takes it out on Art Hazzard, a man who had done so much for him. Before Rick can apologize, Art is hit by a car and killed.
Rick allows his alcoholism to force him to  neglect his music , and he even destroys his horn. He disappears, until one day Smoke finds him in a drunk tank. Jo is contacted and rushes to Rick's side, helping him to recover his love of music and of her—a happy ending found neither in the novel nor in the life of Bix Beiderbecke. But such is the case of a story on the big screen.
According to The New York Times, "banalities of the script are quite effectively glossed over in the slick pictorial smoothness of Michael Curtiz's direction and the exciting quality of the score. The result is that there is considerable good entertainment in Young Man With a Horn. The Times praised the performances of Kirk Douglas, Doris Day and Hoagy Carmichael, but noted "the unseen star of the picture is Harry James, the old maestro himself, who supplies the tingling music which flows wildly, searchingly and forlornly from Rick Martin's beloved horn. This is an instance where the soundtrack is more than a complementary force. It is the very soul of the picture because if it were less provocative and compelling, the staleness of the drama could be stultifying.”
The final sequence of the film, which takes place in a recording studio, is worth the price of admission.  Doris singing, Harry James and his Orchestra playing, and the song is “With a Song in My Heart” (performed perfectly brilliantly).  And one can even forgive the directing staff for filming in black and white instead of color (to save money?). At MGM, it might have become a box office blockbuster. At WB, it was one of their top grossing films of the year, but it could have been so much more.  Fortunately, it was a lead in to the BRILLIANT “Lullaby of Broadway”, on the way, in full and glorious technicolor. By then, WB was ready to truly showcase Doris!
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

mikeydv
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SOME OF DORIS' GREATEST SONGS ON RECORD CAME FROM THIS MOVIE. THERE WERE FOUR OF THEM BEGINNING, IN SEQUENCE, WITH:
 "THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU"



THEN CAME, "I MAY BE WRONG", which she sings in a night club setting, here from the soundtrack:



Here is the version of the song that was released in the #1 Selling Soundtrack Album:



My personal favorite, after her character Jo Jordan had become a big theatre, which she sings on the stage of the Palace Theatre:
"Too Marvelous For Words"



And the movie ended on a high note (no pun intended) with

"With A Song in My Heart"



HERE IS A GREAT VIDEO THAT SUMMARIZES THE ENTIRE MOVIE BRIEFLY USING "MOANING LOW" BY HARRY JAMES, WHICH WAS PART OF THE SOUNDTRACK:



ALSO, A DRAMATIC SCENE FROM THE MOVIE where the character played by Kirk Douglas begins his fall....or.....WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR TRUMPET WHEN YOU HAVE A BAD DAY!!!

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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

mikeydv
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Here are a couple picture stillS from the movie, first in black and white as planned. They are followed by a little colorization thanks to our friend and buddy, Barb Norton:

HERE, DORIS SINGS "TOO MARVELOUS FOR WORDS"



NOW BARB DOES HER MAGIC:



IN THIS PIC, DORIS IS TELLING KIRK THAT HE IS MARRIED TO HIS TRUMPET:



ONCE AGAIN, BARB SUPPLIES SOME MAGIC:

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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

fluffy cloud
A beautiful Doris in this publicity picture.

It has been a while since I saw the movie,I do remember the music though.All the rest escapes me.We all have our preferences.Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh,Omar Sharif and Julie Christie,
Louis Jourdan and Doris Day,Kirk Douglas as Vincent Van Gogh in "Lust for Life.That is such a great movie.He simply is Vincent.In "Young man with a horn" I guess he plays a good part,but I cannot be persuaded to look at the movie again.The piercing eyes of L.Bacall hurt in my humble opinion,but no no, for me.
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

Barbara
This post was updated on .
Thanks Mike for such a wonderful introduction to this movie. Even if you have not seen the movie, if you read all of Mike's introduction to it and watch his video's you feel you have somehow seen the movie. But I am like you Mike I too felt like slapping LB in this movie, but we got to remember she was playing a part, and that she did well, although I did not like her character at all in this movie. And I have never been a great fan of Kirk Douglas either. But our Doris plays a wonderful part as Jo, and sings as always just beautiful. And tried to tell Rick he was always trying for a note that didn't exist.

 





"Stay With The Happy People" ♫ ♪♫
Barbara Norton
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

mikeydv
Administrator
This post was updated on .
As most folks know, this movie is based on the life of Bix Biderbecke...

Bix Beiderbecke was the first talented white jazz cornet player. He also played the piano, but he had more success playing the cornet with a very personal style. His first recordings were with "The Wolverines" in 1924. After this he played in the Charlie Straight orchestra in 1925, with Jean Goldkette in 1926-27 and in the middle of that year he signed a contract with the famous Paul Whiteman. He stayed with Whiteman until 1929, with many interruptions. His alcohol abuse was dramatic during this time and was the main cause of his premature death. Bix was also a notable composer. His compositions like "In a Mist" and "In the Dark" are very advanced for the time. His more famous recordings were with his little orchestra, "Bix and his Gang", in 1927. He recorded great solos with his friend 'Frankie Trambauer' like "Singin' the Blues" and "I'm Coming, Virginia". With Whiteman he recorded many great solos like "Lonely Melody", "Dardanella", "Sweet Sue" and "Oh Miss Hannah" - this last song with Bing Crosby on vocals. His final recording was in 1930. He played a lovely rendition of "I'll be Friend with Pleasure".

Trivia
 
The first white rival to the black pioneers of Jazz.

Cornettist and pianist.

One of the first of the "modern" musicians to self-destruct through alcoholism.

Bix Beiderbecke's playing of the cornet was said to sound like "bullets hitting a bell".

Inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1979.

He is the central figure in the brilliant, 2003 historical novel, "1929" by Frederick Turner. Interestingly enough, much (but certainly not all) of the material in the novel about Bix is based on fact. And, of course, the subject of YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN where  he is portrayed by Kirk Douglas.

He may have met Louis Armstrong while both were still in their teens, though they only got to play music together in informal settings, never in concert. Bix also performed with such well known jazz personalities as the Dorsey Brothers, Benny Goodman, Hoagy Carmichael, Bing Crosby, Red Nichols, Jack Teagarden and more.

His cornet solo in "Singin' the Blues" was the chief inspiration behind Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust."



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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

TheInchWorm
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In reply to this post by Barbara
Barbara, you need to see this film. I agree, I didn't like the story line even if it was a true story. But this picture has GREAT cinematography and music. The director has done a fine job with his scenes and got nice performances by his actors. The storyline though....not great..at all!!!

Here is a little photoplay I made out of this film. (the photoplay has a story of its own)
She's magic
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

Barbara
This post was updated on .
Christie, I have seen the movie. I guess where you thought that I may have not seen the movie, was  when I made the comment "That Mike's great introduction and video's of the movie makes you feel like you have seen the movie if you haven't", and I agreed with Mike that I did not like LB character in this movie, but we had to remember she was playing a part. Didn't like the way she referred to Jo as
simple, and uncomplicated, "said she is so terribly normal." But Rick had a good comeback to her catty remark. Said "She a good singer too". Yes I think I have seen all of Doris movies. Only one I had to watch on line because you can't buy it, was, "Where Were You When The Lights Went Out."

 





 
"Stay With The Happy People" ♫ ♪♫
Barbara Norton
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

Barbara
This post was updated on .
Mike I have a question. Why is the horn in the movie a trumpet instead of a cornet? This is what Bix Biderbecke played instead of a trumpet. And it was based on his life. Also I read about the cornet verses the trumpet it says it can reach higher notes than the trumpet although they look similar.
I watched the movie again last night, I guess one of the reason I don't care to watch it that often
is, it bothers me to watch someone destroy their life like Rick did in the movie, and although the music was wonderful. I couldn't stand seeing Doris playing second rate to LB. And Rick falling so hard for Amy,
and Jo always so loyal and loving to him. And especially I didn't like Kirk Douglas as well after the catty remark he made about Doris when he was interviewed for her book.
PS. Christie I forgot to say thank you for posting all those wonderful still shots of the movie.
If you would like to introduce one of "The Movie Of The Week," would love for you to do one. Dorine will be doing the next one. "Tea For Two". Just look at the list and let us know which one you would like to do.

 

 
"Stay With The Happy People" ♫ ♪♫
Barbara Norton
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

fluffy cloud

In a past long gone,I actually read this book!I now remember.Because Jazz always fascinated me and as you say Mike,it might be I was wondering about that typical club-music for black people and Bix Biderbecke gave it a shot.

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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

mikeydv
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In reply to this post by Barbara
Dorine:
I do not have a definitive answer but I have what I think amounts to the best one you will find.
1. Cornets are in the trumpet family.  There was, in 1950, no truly skilled cornet player, and none famous enought to sell the music.
2. HARRY JAMES plays a mean trumpet, he was well known, and He and Doris made a great musical combination.  So...why not make it a trumpet?
3.They advertised that the movies WAS BASED on the life of Bix;;;;that means, they have th4e right to change it, just like they change details in almost every movie biograpy, including LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME as being based on the story of Ruth Etting.
How is that?
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

Barbara
Nick.. Where are you? Would like you input on this also.



"Stay With The Happy People" ♫ ♪♫
Barbara Norton
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

Barbara
This post was updated on .
Another thing I read about this movie. Doris said it was not a very joyous time for her, that she felt kind of left out, being that Kirk and Lauren, were already good friends before the movie. In fact it was
Lauren that had suggested Kirk for the part. Warner Bros was looking for someone, and had said they
seem to be short on leading men who could play this part. And Lauren suggested her good friend Kirk.













 
"Stay With The Happy People" ♫ ♪♫
Barbara Norton
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

Nick
The only bright spots in the movie are: Bix as a kid, Bix's teacher, Hoagy Carmichael, and Doris Day.  Doris's singing is fantastic, and gives the viewer a glimpse into her singing as a big band singer - that is the best part of this movie!





Hoagy Carmichael wrote "Stardust" and I will always appreciate him for that.




The Sweetheart of the movie.  




I don't trust Kirk Douglas in his screen characters in general.  His optimism on screen seems contrived, and something dark lurks beneath.   He always seems deceptive to me, and Lauren Bacall is generally a "psychic vampire" (except in John Wayne's last movie "The Shootist.")

Made for each other.  Tormented souls, I guess that is good for movies... see what Lauren does to him - I'll pass.
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

mikeydv
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Those of us who have commented on this film seem to be in full accord regarding Lauren Bacall.  I felt that way about her in every role I ever saw her do, even in person on Broadway when she was the star of "Applause".  She is, was and will always be a third rate actress. You will never find her on any list of the most outstanding or popular screen stars of all time and rightly so.  She came a long way on the coat tails of Humprey Bogart.

I don't negate this movie, though. I LOVED THE MUSIC, and the fact that the soundtrack became a #1 Best Seller proved that others did, as well.  And it did not do anything negative for Doris' popularity .
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

Hollywood
In reply to this post by Barbara
Barbara and Mike, I think you listed EVERY reason I don't watch this film often either (It was the last one of the Doris Day Collection Vol 1 that I watched again)...and I also think you showed the few reasons I liked the film.  It is good storytelling, but it's hard to watch a film where Doris is hardly in it and the two people who are dominate become annoying VERY quickly
(I like Lauren Bacall, but Kirk's behavior toward Doris is inexcusable...and Doris was dead right not to like working with him.  Doris had to ride backseat b/c Kirk's ego rode had to ride shotgun.  *rolls eyes*)  

This movie is really made by it's supporting players: Juano Hernandez (Art), Smoke, and Doris Day's vocals with Harry James mean trumpet.  They are the true, sincere heart of this film.
"I think Doris is a very sexy lady who doesn't know how sexy she is.  That's the integral part of her charm.  Beautiful Doris with that fantastic body, all sweetness and charm up front, and that turns people on, and I don't think she could have had the success she's had if she didn't have this sexy whirlpool frothing around underneath her All-American-girl exterior."
"...she was the Fred Astaire of comedy."
"Making a movie with Doris was a piece of cake---a sexy ride on her coattails all the way.

~James Garner  R.I.P.
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

Nick
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by mikeydv
I think the movie has its redeeming values; mainly Doris Day (and she looks good in B&W,) the music and the script, but I don't find myself that interested in the main character - Bix what's his name?  Even Harry James is protrayed as a creep... but I love that ballroom scene with Doris singing with the band "The Very Thought of You" and the dancing crowd.  Looks like "The Palladium" in LA?

The Palladium.


I start to lose interest fast, when Doris disappears and Kirk and Lauren enter a long stretch of psycho acrobatics of their impossible relationship (fitting that Lauren is studying psychiatry - though she doesn't appear to me as the academic type.)  When Doris appears in the middle of their antics, she quickly does what I would do, and gets the heck out of there, and then we have to wait for Kirk to lose it before she comes back.  

I think Kirk and Lauren are good actors as type cast, just not the type that I warm up to.  Seems all movies about musicians are downers; full of drugs, alchohol, and living on the edge.  The music business must be tough.  I think it is better as a hobby for most people, just for the pure enjoyment of it.  Imagine if it was in color . . . like the movie posters.  What a jip!  

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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

mikeydv
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The scenes on the bench by the ocean reminded me of the venue where I saw her with Les Brown oh so many years ago.
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

Nick
The sad thing about these classic movies (which I love) is that they remind us of times we know will never be again.  Only rich memories of days gone by.  Same with the music.  

But I did see a good movie the other day ya'll might enjoy called: THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN.  Very much on point here, and excellent!  Starring Jon Voight  I highly recommend it to all.   It's a good one!  
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Re: DORIS IN BLACK AND WHITE Movie #4: "YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN"

Barbara
This post was updated on .
Mike in regard to your comment about LB being the same in every movie you have ever seen her in.
I think that is because every actor and actress brings a good bit of their own personality to the screen in every part they play. If you look back at Doris very first movie, even though she was playing a part, that sunny vibrate personality just kept coming through, and it was the same way in almost all of her movies. And if you go back and look at LB in her movies it is almost always the same, she comes across as  being kind of aloof, with this husky voice she was known for, and kind of cold and distant. And if you think back a lot of your stars had a strong personality that would come out on the screen, and that was how they were in real life also. And Doris was a great example. Just could not hide that great personality she had even behind another person she might be portraying. I asked Carol the other night if Doris ever said what movies she enjoyed doing beside Calamity Jane.
And she said Doris told her she enjoyed doing "On Moonlight Bay" and "By The Light Of The Silvery Moon" Said she like the way it goes back in time and portrays family life back then, and how much she enjoyed working with everyone in those two movies, said they seem like her real family. Yes I miss those times of long ago also, even though that era in those two movies was still a little before my time.

 






This is a quote from our Doris, and it is so like her. She has had to deal with a lot of hard things in her life, but is a "H" of a fighter, and always lands on her feet.  
 "I know that I am often thought of as a Pollyanna, but I’m far from it. I’m much too realistic to qualify as a Pollyanna. However, I have overcome a lot, and I have developed an inner strength on which I can rely. It has nothing to do with me. It’s simply built into me and nobody can ever take it from me. I don’t care about “Success” in the conventional sense of my ratings or earning. I could care less about that. The success I care about is in knowing how to deal with situations, in not allowing anything in my life to get out of hand. I know that I can handle almost anything they throw at me, and to me that is real success.”



"Stay With The Happy People" ♫ ♪♫
Barbara Norton
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