HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mad Dog Killer
Fanfan la Tulipe
Kickboxer: Vengeance
Jekyll and Hyde… Together Again
Clan, The
Madigan
Love & Friendship
Ones Below, The
Everybody Wants Some!!
Our Kind of Traitor
Star Trek Beyond
Lords of Dogtown
Hors Satan
Too Late the Hero
Jinnah
Ravishing Idiot, A
Girlhood
Whatever Works
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Speedy
Kama Sutra Rides Again
Panic
Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq, The
Roxanne
Bucktown
Ricky
Golden Disc, The
Rock the Kasbah
Legend of Frenchie King, The
Holidays
   
 
Newest Articles
Manor On Movies: Beat On The Brat(s)
The Reality of the Heist Movie: Films that are based on real-life robberies
The SHADO Knows: UFO The Complete Series on Blu-ray
Siege Mentality: Rio Bravo and Assault on Precinct 13
Queens of Women: Five Cult Stars, Five Cult Films
Abstract Strategies: The Brothers Quay on Blu-ray
Born to be Cad: George Sanders and Psychomania
Speed Kills: The History of Fast Zombies
Skeleton Crew: The Blind Dead Movies
The Stars Are Out Tonight: Hollywood Celebrity Casts in the 70s
   
 
  Glenn Miller Story, The In The MoodBuy this film here.
Year: 1954
Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: James Stewart, June Allyson, Harry Morgan, Charles Drake, George Tobias, Barton MacLane, Sig Ruman, Irving Bacon, James Bell, Kathleen Lockhart, Katharine Warren, Frances Langford, Gene Krupa, Louis Armstrong, Ben Pollack, Barney Bigard, James Young
Genre: Biopic, Music
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Glenn Miller (James Stewart) is a lowly trombone player during the Depression of the nineteen-thirties, and often has to pawn his instrument to get by when there is no work to be found. One day at the pawnbroker's, a man who is now on friendly terms with Miller, the musician spots a string of pearls and dreams of the day he can offer a gift like that to the girl he plans to marry, Helen (June Allyson), even though he has not met her since two years ago when they were at college. But that's not the only dream he has, as he plans on leading his own band one day, a band with a whole new sound. Will he succeed?

Well, if he didn't it's doubtful they would have made a film about him, and so it was we got The Glenn Miller Story, one of many nostalgic biopics made in the fifties about music stars who would guarantee an audience thanks to the love of their oeuvre that they generated. With this tale, of course, the studio was guaranteed to leave the moviegoers with a tear in their eye, for everyone knew how it ended, which turned out to be one of the few aspects that was accurate about it. Yes, James Stewart plays Miller, and he was married to Helen, and naturally he was a big success with swing, but otherwise aficionados have long been put out by the fact that films like these play fast and loose with history.

Though when are they ever happy? This was not a documentary after all and was tailor made to fit the template that many Hollywood-ised musical retellings had before and would do again. Stewart in particular is perfect for his role, not simply because when he puts the glasses on he looks surprisingly similar, but because we can almost believe he and Miller were the same person, so crafted to the nice guy persona that he cultivated in many of his films was this. The fifties was also the decade that he began branching out into grittier roles, often under the direction of Anthony Mann, but in this teaming of them they harkened back to the Stewart image of the thirties and forties, which turned out to be what audiences really wanted.

Matching him was Allyson as Helen, the ideal fifties housewife even though this is set between ten and twenty years before - she wears fifties fashions throughout as if to underline this. The real Helen was apparently very keen to have her part in the story emphasised, so this is as much a romance as it is a musical experience, and indeed we don't get to hear Miller's tunes or arrangements until after an hour has passed. During that hour, the film prefers to concentrate on the hardship he underwent trying to get his career off the ground, and every so often you'll hear him tell Helen to call him on Pennsylvania 6-5000, or play a little of Moonlight Serenade on the piano as he attempts to get it just right.

The creative process is one which attracts filmmakers, they are creative people themselves after all, but not one which translates to gripping movies as often as we would like. Here, there's a slightly campy air with the benefit of hindsight whenever a famous name is dropped, whether a title or a person, and there is the bizarre sight of James Stewart miming the trombone alongside Gene Krupa and Louis Armstrong at a Harlem nightclub for scenes which stick in the memory for almost the wrong reasons. Once Miller begins enjoying the fruits of his labour, the hits arrive nearly non-stop, with the last half of the running time essentially an excuse to segue from String of Pearls to In the Mood and so on until Miller gets on that plane to fly the English Channel and thereafter, oblivion. Yes, it's manipulative, but there's a lot of the old Hollywood magic being employed here, and if you only like the music you may find yourself swept up in the romance of it all.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2210 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme music?
Superman: The Movie
The Dark Knight
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three ('74)
Star Wars
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Great Escape
Halloween
The Ipcress File
The Magnificent Seven
Back to the Future
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
  James Dixon
  Lee Trathan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
Darren Jones
  Rwerew Rewrwe
   

 

Last Updated: