This beautiful Technicolor short features the songs of the great American popular composer Stephen Collins Foster. Lovely antebellum costumes and atmosphere foreshadow the MGM production ... See full summary »
This beautiful Technicolor short features the songs of the great American popular composer Stephen Collins Foster. Lovely antebellum costumes and atmosphere foreshadow the MGM production values for Gone with the Wind (1939). Based on Foster's memoirs. Written by
Thomas McWilliams <email@example.com>
Composer Stephen Foster leaves MEMORIES AND MELODIES as his legacy to a young woman who loved his music.
This sentimental, tuneful - and somewhat racist - little film focuses on Foster's lilting, delightful music. The bulk of the story is a reverie of an afternoon ball at a Kentucky plantation, the proceedings entirely buoyed by Foster's songs. The early Technicolor throughout is a major plus to the film.
No acting credits are given, but movie mavens should recognize Nora Cecil as the persnickety sheet music customer.
The following songs by Foster are performed - "The Old Kentucky Home""Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming""Camptown Races""Oh, Suzanna""Beautiful Dreamer""Old Uncle Ned""Ring, Ring, the Banjo""Old Folks at Home""Massa's In De Cold, Cold Ground."
Often overlooked or neglected today, the one and two-reel short subjects were useful to the Studios as important training grounds for new or burgeoning talents, both in front & behind the camera. The dynamics for creating a successful short subject was completely different from that of a feature length film, something akin to writing a topnotch short story rather than a novel. Economical to produce in terms of both budget & schedule and capable of portraying a wide range of material, short subjects were the perfect complement to the Studios' feature films.
Born on the Fourth of July in 1826, Stephen Collins Foster would become America's first truly important professional composer and the most famous songwriter up to the time of the Civil War. He had a natural inclination for music and was greatly influenced by both his Scots-Irish roots and the black music he heard around him. Sentimental ballads & minstrel tunes would predominate among his 280 compositions.
He only visited Dixie once - although he was considered to be the Song Writer of the South' - being a Northerner all of his life. Never practical with money, Foster usually sold his songs for flat fees, leaving the often substantial royalties to be earned by publishers & performers. (Along with the titles mentioned above, Foster is also remembered for the favorites `Nelly Bly,' 'Old Dog Tray,' 'Old Black Joe,' & `Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair.')
Foster married Jane McDowell in 1850, but his descent into poverty left him a prey to alcoholism & melancholia and she finally left him in 1862. Stephen Foster died on January 13, 1864, in the charity ward of a New York City hospital, alone and deeply in debt. He was only 37 years old.
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