Bio of swing band leader 'Benny Goodman' from age 10 (1919) to his landmark Carnegie Hall band concert in 1938. Not exactly historically accurate, but great music. Also, guest appearances ... See full summary »
The unemployed trombone player Glenn Miller is always broken, chasing his sound to form his band and hocking his instrument in the pawn house to survive. When his friend Chummy MacGregor is hired to play in the band of Ben Pollack, the band-leader listens to one Glenn's composition and invites him to join his band. While traveling to New York, Glenn visits his former girlfriend Helen Berger, in Boulder, Colorado, and asks her to wait for him. Two years later he quits the band and proposes Helen that moves to New York to marry him. After the success of "Moonlight Serenade", Glenn Miller's band becomes worldwide known and Glenn and Helen and their two children have a very comfortable life. Duting the World War II, Glenn enlists in the army and travels to Europe to increase the moral of the allied troops. In the Christmas of 1944, he travels from London to Paris for a concert to be broadcast; however his plane is never found in the tragic flight. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Decca's ten-inch, eight-track soundtrack LP, ascending to #1 on the "Billboard" album chart in March 1954, omitted the teaming of Frances Langford (in her last film) with The Modernaires (in their last picture) on the classic train song, "Chattanooga Choo Choo" (music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Mack Gordon). The audio has been restored on an import CD of the soundtrack, courtesy of the Pid label. In connection with the film's release, Coral Records, a Decca subsidiary, had The Modernaires record two medleys of Glenn Miller hits, released on both sides of a 45-rpm single, which charted up to #29 in "Billboard" during 1954. The quintet's Miller tribute can be enjoyed on a 1998 Modernaires CD from Varese Sarabande called "Singin' and Swingin'." In 1956 the Decca soundtrack album was expanded into a 12-inch LP, adding two studio cuts by Louis Armstrong and The All Stars, "Basin Street Blues" (music and lyrics by Spencer Williams) and "Otchi-Tchor-Ni-Ya" (music by Florian Herrmanns, improvised lyrics by Louis Armstrong). The second Armstrong ditty had not been performed by him in the movie. Towards the end of 1958 Decca reissued the soundtrack LP in true stereo. See more »
Miller's Army Air Force band plays while Negro and Caucasian troops march by side-by-side. The US military was not integrated by unit until after WWII. 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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