In the world of high-end art auctions and antiques, Virgil Oldman is an elderly and esteemed but eccentric genius art-expert, known and appreciated by the world. Oldman is hired by a ... See full summary »
1900. Danny Boodmann, a stoker on an American passenger liner, Virginian, finds a baby abandoned on the ship. He names the child Danny Boodmann T.D. Lemon Nineteen Hundred '1900' and raises the child as his own until his death in an accident on the ship. The child never leaves the ship and turns out to be a musical genius, especially when it comes to playing the piano. As an adult he befriends a trumpet player in the ship's band, Max Tooney. After several years on the ship Max leaves, and tells the story of 1900 to the owner of a music store. Written by
Tim Roth can not, in fact, play the piano. He trained for six months to be able to "fake it" for the film. See more »
At the beginning of the film, the immigrants are happy to be entering America through New York. However, the ships are shown passing from right to left in front of the Statue of Liberty. This would be taking them out of New York harbor, not into it. 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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