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The Legend of 1900 (1998)
"La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano" (original title)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 32,163 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 228 user | 67 critic | 28 from Metacritic.com

A baby boy, discovered in 1900 on an ocean liner, grows into a musical prodigy, never setting foot on land.

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(monologue Novecento),
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Title: The Legend of 1900 (1998)

The Legend of 1900 (1998) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 17 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Danny Boodmann
...
Jelly Roll Morton
...
The Girl
Gabriele Lavia ...
Farmer
...
'Pops', the Shopkeeper
Niall O'Brien ...
Harbor Master
...
Mexican Stoker
Luigi De Luca ...
Neapolitan Stoker
Femi Elufowoju Jr. ...
Black Stoker (as Femi Elufowoja Jr.)
Nigel Fan ...
Chinese Stoker
Roger Monk ...
Irish Stoker
Leonid Zaslavski ...
Polish Stoker
Bernard Padden ...
Boatswain
Edit

Storyline

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 GMBaxter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ship | 1900s | piano | pianist | jazz | See more »

Taglines:

A beatiful story of a man who could do anything... except be ordinary. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

28 October 1998 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

La légende du pianiste sur l'océan  »

Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$39,200 (USA) (29 October 1999)

Gross:

$259,127 (USA) (10 December 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (international)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Max: 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. ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Seven Pounds (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

The Crave
Written by Ferdinand 'Jelly Roll' Morton (uncredited)
Performed by Ferdinand 'Jelly Roll' Morton (as 'Jelly Roll' Morton)
Edwin H. Morris & Co., a division of MPL Communications Inc.
Tempo-Music Publishing Company
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
This is a film for which the medium was invented.
16 April 2001 | by (Vancouver USA) – See all my reviews

"The Legend of 1900" is not the most attractive title for a film and the Italian original, "The Legend of the Oceanic Pianist", is no better. in retrospect there is no title worthy of this film. The marquee should read simply "See This Film, Your Life Will Be Better for It."

The story, music, cinematography, direction and, I hazard to say, a near perfect performance by Tim Roth combine to make for a compelling film. The story is told with a poetic lyricism that is immediately captivating and that is more than enhanced by Lajos Koltai's well stated cinematography. Clarance Williams III's controlled overstatement as an unexpectedly nasty Jelly Roll Morton is the perfect contrast to Roth's underplayed and unworldly 1900.

The American release of the film is 125 minutes. The Italian release was 160 minutes. What are we missing. Maybe this shorter cut is better but I cannot forget the devastation that was wrought on "Once Upon A Time In America" for its 139 minute US theatrical release. I certainly would not be not adverse to being subjected to an additional 35 minutes of the film and judging for myself if it was too long.

Aside from its title the films only flaw is the exit song. After two hours of enthralling instrumentals the vocal on the exit song undercuts rather than underscores a masterful filmic experience.

...rmk


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