A young songwriter leaves his Kentucky home to try to make it in New Orleans. Eventually he winds up in New York, where he sells his songs to a music publisher, but refuses to sell his most...
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A young songwriter leaves his Kentucky home to try to make it in New Orleans. Eventually he winds up in New York, where he sells his songs to a music publisher, but refuses to sell his most treasured composition: "Dixie." The film is based on the life of Daniel Decatur Emmett, who wrote the classic song "Dixie." Written by
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 20, 1943 with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour reprising their film roles. See more »
The movie changes all sorts of historical facts: The movie makes Emmett a bachelor wooing "Jean Mason" who is confined to a wheelchair. The song Dixie was intended as a sort of dirge but is given a sprightly tempo only because the theater, in the deep south, has caught fire. In fact Emmett married Catherine Rives circa 1853 and remained married until her death in 1875, there is no indication that she was disabled. Dixie was first sung, and at its familiar tempo, in NYC on April 4, 1859, in a non-burning music hall. The movie has only the first verse sung over and over again because, frankly, the second and third verses are a bit "unenlightened" by modern standards. A couple of years later Emmett was appalled that the Confederacy had appropriated his song and he promptly wrote several songs for the Union Army. See more »
Paramount finally gave Bing Crosby technicolor in this 1943 film, presumably based on the life of Daniel Decatur Emmett, minstrel man and composer of many 19th century songs like Turkey in the Straw, Old Dan Tucker, and of course, Dixie.
Seeing this film today and realizing that the song Dixie is a bad reminder of slavery for Afro-Americans and that minstrel shows in and of themselves are not so subtle examples of racism the film ain't recommended by this writer. It's a pity because technically the film is flawless, good writing, directing and acting.
Crosby also sings one of his most famous movie songs, Sunday, Monday, or Always in this and the recording by Decca is an interesting story. For most of 1943 into 1944 the musicians union went on strike against the record companies. This played hell on Frank Sinatra who had just signed a contract with Columbia Records after leaving Tommy Dorsey. Bing was already established and Decca re-issued his old platters up to a point. Sunday, Monday or Always was such a mega-hit from the film that Decca got Crosby to record it with the Ken Darby Singers doing an a capella background. The flipside was If You Please also from this film. Columbia did the same thing with Sinatra for the songs from Higher and Higher. Both Crosby and Sinatra were accused of not honoring the musician's picket line and the practice was discontinued. But Sunday, Monday or Always became one of Bing's million sellers.
One incident from the film is true. The song Dixie was originally written as a slow moving ballad. But a theater orchestra had to speed up the tempo to what we know today because of a threatening theater fire. That tempo change made it a hit and the rest as they say is history.
Dixie doesn't mean to be offensive, the film was made in a different time. But offensive it is.
I would only see it if you are Crosby fan or as a historical curiosity.
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