Great Performances (1971– )
7.5/10
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6 user 1 critic

The Great American Songbook 

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Harold Arlen ...
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Anne Brown ...
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11 March 2003 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vernon Duke, the Russian-born songwriter mentioned in the film, studied music at the St. Petersburg Conservatory under his original name, Vladimir Dukelsky. One of his classmates was Sergei Prokofieff, who became a major classical composer: the two were lifelong friends and regularly wrote letters to each other until Prokofieff's death in 1953. (The letters were an important source for Harlow Robinson's biography of Prokofieff.) See more »

Goofs

The narration describes Al Jolson as one of America's leading vaudevillians. Jolson never played vaudeville; he went directly from performing in minstrel shows to appearing in Broadway musicals. See more »

Connections

Features Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Astounding Tribute
10 May 2003 | by See all my reviews

When I was in music school in the 1980's I discovered and was fascinated by, the composers (and their songs--many of which are "classics" and "standards") featured in this superb documentary.

Whether discussing George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein, Cole Porter or Harold Arlen, I was simply awestruck by the articulate and painstaking attention to detail delivered in the narrative. Richard Rogers has been for quite some time amongst the top 5 of my favorite American Composers (along with Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Charles Ives and John Corigliano). Regardless of era or form, you won't find a better musical history documentary anywhere.


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