Weronika lives in Poland. Véronique lives in Paris. They don't know each other. Weronika gets a place in a music school, works hard, but collapses and dies on her first performance. At this... See full summary »
A lonely doctor who once occupied an unusual lakeside home begins exchanging love letters with its former resident, a frustrated architect. They must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late.
Shortly after the Second World War, Max, a transplanted American, visits an English pawn shop to sell his trumpet. The shopkeeper recognizes the tune Max plays as one on a wax master of an unreleased recording, discovered and restored from shards found in a piano salvaged from a cruise ship turned hospital ship, now slated for demolition. This chance discovery prompts a story from Max, which he relates both to the shopkeeper and later to the official responsible for the doomed vessel, for Max is a born storyteller. Though now down on his luck and disillusioned by his wartime experiences, the New Orleans-born Max was once an enthusiastic and gifted young jazz musician, whose longest gig was several years with the house band aboard the Virginian, a posh cruise ship. While gaining his sea legs, he was befriended by another young man, the pianist in the same band, whose long unlikely name was Danny Boodman T.D. Lemons 1900, though everyone just called him 1900, the year of his birth. ... Written by
Exterior shots of the ship are the inspired blueprints of the SS Lusitania and her sister ship the SS Mauritania. The ballroom in which 1900 plays his piano in had a dome similar to the dome the SS Mauritania had in her ballroom during the transatlantic period. See more »
The recording equipment used for making the record was clearly acoustic in nature, showing large horns. This type of recording was largely replaced in 1925 by electrical recording, using microphones. Yet the recording was made somewhere between 1927 and 1933, according to Tooney's story. Furthermore, the recording engineer played back the matrix immediately; this would have ruined the matrix, which was cut in wax. In those days, immediate playback was only possible using a 2nd set of equipment expressly for that purpose. See more »
I still ask myself if I did the right thing when I abandoned his floating city. And I don't mean only for the work. The fact is, a friend like that, a real friend - you won't meet one again. If you just decide to hang up your sea legs, if you just want to feel something more solid beneath your feet - and it's then you no longer hear the music of the gods around you. But, like he used to say, you're never really done for, as long as you got a good story, and someone to tell it to. ...
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the more people see it, the more people there are to help me work out what
to make of it. It's hard not to like, and the central conceit, the fantasy story of someone whose entire life is spent crossing and re-crossing the Atlantic, is just delicious - yet there's always something that prevents it from working as it should. There's too much narration. Narration aside, there are too many words. Just before 1900 and the narrator part ways the former explains himself, to some degree, in a longish speech. The speech was necessary: we needed to hear his reasons from his own lips. But once it had been given the scene should have ended. Instead the two characters keep adding postscripts as they walk away from one another - and they're standard, maudlin things which are at odds with what 1900 had been saying a moment ago. Again and again, there are words where there shouldn't be.
But then, it may be that the title character was given too FEW words - at least at first. Because it's so long before we first hear 1900 express his thoughts verbally (and because in the absence of other information about his character we are unwilling to pass judgment on him until he does) it takes too long for us to warm to him. In fact we never warm to him as much as we should.
And yet there are scenes - the piano duel, the girl in the rain - that are just fantastic, that make me reluctant to criticise anything at all. Any film containing moments like those can afford to lose its way at times.
P.S. Of course, a film about a pianist born on the first day of the Twentieth Century ought to be called "The Legend of 1901", which if you asks me sounds better anyway.
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