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
Due to a cessation of the professional relationship since about 1950, singer and saxophonist Tex Beneke does not appear in this film. His vocal lead on "Chattanooga Choo Choo" as well as his distinctive tenor sax sound on many classic Glenn Miller recordings are missing from the soundtrack. See more »
When leaving at the airport, Glenn puts down his trombone on the left and his valise on the right to say goodbye to Helen and his children. After the goodbyes he picks up the trombone on his right and his valise on the left. See more »
If music be the food of love, play on Glenn, play on!(after W.S.)
Produced nine years after his death this is Hollywood's obituary of swing era legend Glenn Miller. Essentially a musical told around the story of his struggle to achieve musical stardom. A film that will appeal to all lovers of 1930s swing music and Glenn Miller in particular. A film also for James Stewart fans. Casting the gangling Stewart as Miller was a huge gamble that succeeded; if it had failed so would have the film. This success was due to Anthony Mann's undoubted ability as a director. The Mann-Stewart combination had already proved itself but here both were on unfamiliar territory. Mann's forté was the outdoor adventure while Stewart was a pre-war light comedy star still trying to find a new identity. Mann had earlier directed Stewart in Winchester '73(1950)and the two were to go on to further success with The Far Country (1954) and The Man from Larramie (1955). He excels himself in bringing out previously unknown talents in Stewart that make this a career best for the Actor. Clad simply in a military raincoat, a trombone to his lips and sporting a USAAF officer's peaked cap he requires no further make-up to pass himself off as the wartime Miller. Among the lesser credits is the name of an unknown Henry Mancini but this was to be his big break as at the young age of 22 he was to become an Oscar nominee (jointly with Joseph Gershenson) for musical scoring. Before joining Universal Mancini had been a piano player and arranger with the post-war "Glenn Miller Orchestra", by using musicians from this band, made up mainly of sidesmen from Miller's own bands, Mancini ensured an authentic re-creation of the seductive Miller sound that had enchanted teenagers in the years leading up to the war. Regrettably an argument with the Miller Estate prevented the participation of saxophonist Ted Beneke, who had earlier led the post-war band and was renowned for his performance of Chattanoga Choo-Choo in"SunValley Serenade" (1941). The fidelity of the sound track of Miller's music won the film an Oscar for best sound recording of a musical. After a ponderous start the film picks up pace in apparent tune with Miller's success until the last reel is a non-stop performance of Miller standards. Miller was supported throughout by his wife, Helen, sympathetically played by a cuddlesome June Allyson, who ceaselessly encouraged him when all seemed to have failed. When news of his death reaches her one immediately feels her sadness in her loss and spontaneously grieves with her. Get your hankies out! A few minor lapses mar an otherwise competent production; Miller is incongruously seen in his army raincoat an a glorious summer's day conducting his wartime band at an outdoor concert in England just after D-day while the audience and band are in standard military attire; a continuity lapse shows a German flying bomb attack taking place before D-day, 6th June, whereas the first one did not reach England until the following week. Miller's loss at the peak of popularity, flying in advance of his band to make arrangements in Paris for his Christmas concert, ensured his enduring fame. As his plane and body were never recovered the mystery of his death has added to the legend. Only in the last decade have military historians been able to piece together his last moments and pinpoint where the plane came down. Whilst crossing the English Channel in dense fog the plane, which relied entirely on a compass for navigation, wandered off course and entered a prohibited area reserved for returning Allied bombers to drop any left over bombs; it was one of these that hit the plane so bringing to its end the life of one Glenn Alton Miller. Anthony Mann's deliberately abrupt end to the film comes as a jolt and dramatically conveys the unexpected loss of the patriotic Miller in his prime - the touch of the Master. A film that has stood the test of time; part fact, part fiction, it will remain the definitive tribute to the man and his music. Good wholesome entertainment for the whole family and a must for Stewart and Miller fans.
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