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Rhapsody in Blue (1945)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Musical | 22 September 1945 (USA)
George Gershwin is a driven composer whose need to succeed destroys his relationship with singer Julie Adams and socialite Christine Gilbert.

Director:

Writers:

(original story), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Christine Gilbert
...
Max Dreyfus
...
Lee Gershwin
...
Prof. Franck
Morris Carnovsky ...
Morris Gershwin
Rosemary DeCamp ...
Rose Gershwin
...
Oscar Levant
Paul Whiteman ...
...
Al Jolson
George White ...
George White
Hazel Scott ...
Hazel Scott
Anne Brown ...
Herbert Rudley ...
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Storyline

Composer George Gershwin is driven by his need to succeed. Unfortunately his drive destroys his romantic relationships with singer Julie Adams, who is desperately in love with him, and aloof socialite Christine Gilbert. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The jubilant story of George Gershwin.


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 September 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rapsodia en azul  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (with overture)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Irving Rapper wanted Tyrone Power to play George Gershwin, but he was serving in the U.S. military during World War II and was therefore unavailable. See more »

Goofs

When Gershwin and Professor Franck are discussing whether George should go to Europe to study, Franck makes fun of George's necktie and pulls it out of George's jacket. However, when they turn to look at the busts of classical composers, the tie is neatly tucked back inside the jacket. See more »

Quotes

George Gershwin: Work is a compulsion. It's an obsession. And there's so much I want to do.
Ira Gershwin: What are you trying to prove, Georgie? You've already done...
George Gershwin: Don't you see, Ira? It's only with my music that I can prove my right to live. I must write... and I can't even hear it inside me anymore.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Precious Images (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Cuban Overture
(uncredited)
Music by George Gershwin
Played by orchestra conducted onscreen by Robert Alda, and offscreen by Leo F. Forbstein
See more »

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User Reviews

 
So Many Songs Left Unsung
4 February 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Of all our famous Tin Pan Alley composers George Gershwin alone managed to bridge that gap between the old masters of Europe and our own American musical traditions. I've always had a particular affinity for his music, maybe because he and I share the same birthday, 49 years apart though. He did so much in his life of 38 years and left so much unwritten and unsung it's impossible to comprehend all this beauty could have come from the mind of one man.

Rhapsody In Blue is no better or worse than some of the other Hollywood biographies of our composers. The idea was to make a musical picture and story is always sacrificed, especially in the accuracy department. Joan Leslie and Alexis Smith play a compilation of characters of many women involved in George Gershwin's life. It is true however that Gershwin sacrificed all for his art. He wanted to attain heights that no American composer ever did and he succeeded.

There is also the problem of contracts and copyrights in making these kind of films. Certain Gershwin standards you won't hear because either Warner Brothers didn't have the rights or Jack Warner was spending way too much money for the Gershwin songs to begin with.

Al Jolson, Paul Whiteman, and Oscar Levant all appear as themselves in this, the story of Gershwin could not be told without them. Jolson introduced Gershwin's first hit song of Swanee, he interpolated it in one of his shows which he always did. Paul Whiteman, the King of Jazz, took that crown with his concert at Aeolian Hall of Rhapsody In Blue from whence this film gets its title. It maybe the most well known instrumental piece of music by an American composer ever.

And certainly no life of Gershwin could have even been filmed without Oscar Levant whose friendship and abiding affection for George Gershwin was well known. Levant's wit was devastating, even upon himself and his friend George. But he worshiped at the altar of that music.

But a real treat for me was Anne Brown, the original Bess from Porgy and Bess singing Summertime. That alone is worth seeing this film.

Hazel Scott, singer, jazz pianist, and outspoken civil rights advocate plays a Josephine Baker type role and does several Gershwin numbers while he's in Paris. The film sadly makes no mention of Fred Astaire or Gertrude Lawrence both of whom are very important in George Gershwin's career. And it would have been nice to see Victor Moore playing Throttlebottom from Of Thee I Sing which got a one line mention about it winning a Pulitzer Prize and that was it.

Robert Alda plays the title role and he did get good reviews and to the limited extent the script gave the character, he does capture the essence of the driven Gershwin. Stardom in Hollywood would elude Alda however, he'd have to wait for Broadway and Guys And Dolls.

I was sorry to see the role of Ira Gershwin by Herbert Rudley given such a short shrift. Ira was an interesting man in his own right. He wrote lyrics with several other name composers both before and after his brother's demise. In fact he wrote with others specifically to establish his own credentials so no one would think he was just riding on brother George's coattails.

Gershwin's one man who could use a new biographical film. Maybe we can get a better idea of his life, have his songs done in proper chronological order and see him from another century's perspective.

Until then Rhapsody In Blue will give you a general idea.


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