A harrowing look at the 60s and early 70s through the eyes of Katherine Alman, a wealthy debutante who slowly, but inexorably spirals down into a fight for the causes that shook a nation, ... See full summary »
In 1944, in Brooklyn, two Jewish kids become friends. One is from a very conservative family, and the other is more liberal. The issues of importance of tradition, parental expectations and the formation of Israel cause constant friction.
Tired of the slave-like treatment of his team's owner, charismatic star Negro League pitcher Bingo Long takes to the road with his band of barnstormers through the small towns of the Midwest in the 1930's.
Billy Dee Williams,
James Earl Jones,
Good natured Reverend Henry Biggs finds that his marriage to choir mistress Julia is flagging, due to his constant absence caring for the deprived neighborhood they live in. On top of all ... See full summary »
Courtney B. Vance
Mike Catton was once a world-renowned construction foreman (at least in the construction world), but an accident left him with a serious fear of heights. Unable to climb the big skyscrapers... See full summary »
More fiction than fact, but the music makes it worthwhile
The man who gave us the Maple Leaf Rag and the Entertainer, Scott Joplin, once said that he would not become known until fifty years after his death.
He wasn't off by much--it took fifty-six. In 1973, Marvin Hamlisch used the then-largely unknown Joplin's music in the movie "The Sting," spurring a ragtime revival and a renewed interest in Joplin specifically. Joplin's work received long-overdue attention from music scholars, and he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer for his body of work, some fifty known rags, waltzes, marches--and one opera, Treemonisha.
This movie rode the wave of his renewed popularity, but plays so loose with the facts of his life that we end up knowing little more about him. Billy Dee Williams is a superb Joplin, as is Art Carney as his publisher, John Stark. But the movie either ignores or glosses over certain details, such as Joplin's longtime friendship and collaboration with Scott Hayden. Hayden is not even mentioned in the film, which prefers to focus on Joplin and the tragic, unsung musical genius Louis Chauvin, who Joplin barely knew. Chauvin in his prime would compose beautiful rags on the spot, never to be heard again, because he could not write them down. The movie implies they were friends from the earliest days, which they were not. They did collaborate on one piece, "Heliotrope Bouquet", when Chauvin was dying and no longer able to play--this the movie gets right.
It also touches on the growing animosity between Joplin and Stark, but this too is sugarcoated. The movie implies they reconciled, which in reality never happened.
Yet the movie is worth seeing if only for one thing--the wonderful, brooding music of a man for whom recognition was long overdue.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?