6.5/10
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4 user 3 critic

Scott Joplin (1977)

Details the life story of Scott Joplin and how he became the greatest ragtime composer of all time.

Director:

Jeremy Kagan (as Jeremy Paul Kagan)
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From $3.99 (SD) on Prime Video

1 win. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Dee Williams ... Scott Joplin
Clifton Davis ... Chauvin
Margaret Avery ... Belle Joplin
Eubie Blake Eubie Blake ... Will Williams
Godfrey Cambridge ... Tom Turpin
Seymour Cassel ... Dr. Jaelki
Otis Day ... John The Baptist
Mabel King ... Madam Amy
Taj Mahal ... Poor Alfred
Spo-De-Odee Spo-De-Odee ... Left Hand of God
Art Carney ... John Stark
David Healy David Healy ... Sam Bundler
Samuel Fuller ... Impresario
Leon Charles Leon Charles ... Liebling
Fred Pinkard Fred Pinkard ... Dr. Adams
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Storyline

Details the life story of Scott Joplin and how he became the greatest ragtime composer of all time.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Scott Joplin's Ragtime Music Portrayed American Life.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 December 1977 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only other composers mentioned as worthy equals in the film are John Philip Sousa and Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton. See more »

Quotes

Scott Joplin: 'I got those old Monday blues, those hang-over Sunday blues... '
Chauvin: Jelly Roll Morton.
Scott Joplin: 'If it wasn't for my baby, I'd go crazy from all those wrong things I choose... '
Chauvin: You'd play that stuff. You'd play that stuff for the girls.
Scott Joplin: I sure remember him.
Chauvin: Yeah... 'Let me tell you about that gal of mine, together we seen some very hard times. But a shot of that old gin, my friend, would start us rolling again... '
Scott Joplin: [singing together] 'I don't mind those Monday blues, homes I got the cure, I can't lose. ...
[...]
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Connections

References The Sting (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Breakup
Written & performed by Dick Hyman
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User Reviews

 
More fiction than fact, but the music makes it worthwhile
29 July 2004 | by rnewsteadSee all my reviews

The man who gave us the Maple Leaf Rag and the Entertainer, Scott Joplin, once said that he would not become known until fifty years after his death.

He wasn't off by much--it took fifty-six. In 1973, Marvin Hamlisch used the then-largely unknown Joplin's music in the movie "The Sting," spurring a ragtime revival and a renewed interest in Joplin specifically. Joplin's work received long-overdue attention from music scholars, and he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer for his body of work, some fifty known rags, waltzes, marches--and one opera, Treemonisha.

This movie rode the wave of his renewed popularity, but plays so loose with the facts of his life that we end up knowing little more about him. Billy Dee Williams is a superb Joplin, as is Art Carney as his publisher, John Stark. But the movie either ignores or glosses over certain details, such as Joplin's longtime friendship and collaboration with Scott Hayden. Hayden is not even mentioned in the film, which prefers to focus on Joplin and the tragic, unsung musical genius Louis Chauvin, who Joplin barely knew. Chauvin in his prime would compose beautiful rags on the spot, never to be heard again, because he could not write them down. The movie implies they were friends from the earliest days, which they were not. They did collaborate on one piece, "Heliotrope Bouquet", when Chauvin was dying and no longer able to play--this the movie gets right.

It also touches on the growing animosity between Joplin and Stark, but this too is sugarcoated. The movie implies they reconciled, which in reality never happened.

Yet the movie is worth seeing if only for one thing--the wonderful, brooding music of a man for whom recognition was long overdue.


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