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An RCA Victor 10-inch album of eight Miller originals, recorded between 1939 and 1943, called "Glenn Miller Plays Selections From The Glenn Miller Story," reached number one on the "Billboard" album chart in May 1954. With four cuts added, a 12-inch LP, retitled "Glenn Miller Plays Selections From The Glenn Miller Story And Other Hits," was released in 1956. The expanded disc went on to become a Certified Gold Album in 1961. See more »
Several facts and dates are tinkered with for the sake of the story. See more »
The Glenn Miller Story is a biographical tribute to a man who is always ranked as one of the great swing bandleaders of the late thirties to middle forties era. It is indeed fortunate that when James Stewart puts a pair of glasses on, he does actually look like the real Glenn Miller. I don't know what Helen Miller looked like, but I'm sure she was as supportive to her husband as June Allyson was to her screen hubby.
The Miller story begins with Stewart and pal Harry Morgan on the road as musicians. Stewart plays a slide trombone and has ideas of how the orchestra should sound as a whole. He spends a lot of time writing arrangements for the entire band. When they're not done right as is graphically shown in a scene when Miller's famous Moonlight Serenade is performed, he decides to form his own band.
He's still looking for that particular sound that he wants his orchestra to have and he chances on it in one of the more interesting scenes in the film. Swing fans when they hear it will recognize it as the genuine Glenn Miller.
One glaring fault for purists though is while the instrumentals are performed nicely, the vocal part of the Miller band is left out of the film. For whatever reason singers, Ray Eberle, Marian Hutton (Betty's sister)and most of all Gordon "Tex" Beneke are not in the film. In fact Chattanooga Choo Choo, Beneke's most famous number, is performed in the film by Frances Langford as herself.
My favorite scene in the film is the nightclub scene in Harlem on the Miller wedding night. June was definitely a patient wife, but hey, if you got a chance to jam with Louis Armstrong, you drop EVERYTHING for that opportunity. Gene Krupa and other top jazz musicians are in that scene with Stewart and Satchmo, making it a real treat for jazz aficionados.
For American music we are indeed fortunate that Glenn Miller succeeded in his quest for the right sound which is so lovingly captured in this film.
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