The young Benny Goodman is taught clarinet by a Chicago music professor. He is advised by bandleader Kid Ory to play whichever kind of music he likes best, but to make a living, Benny begins by joining the Ben Pollack traveling band.
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
A newspaper states that the Glenn Miller band will be performing at the "Glenn Island Casino". In the next scene they show the casino, but the sign reads "Glen Island Casino". The second "n" in "Glenn" is missing. In reality, Glen Island Casino is spelled with a single "n". 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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