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COMPOSER BIOPICS

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Vienna
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COMPOSER BIOPICS

Postby Vienna » November 23rd, 2012, 12:00 pm

Hollywood scriptwriters liked to play fast and loose with the lives of popular composers, but the public didn't know or care. We got a feast of stars and songs.
Here's a list off the top of my head. Maybe it can be added to?

Jerome Kern - Robert Walker
George Gershwin - Robert Alda
Cole Porter - Cary Grant
Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby - Fred Astaire and Red Skelton
DeSylva ,Brown and Henderson - Gordon MaCrae, Dan Dailey, Ernest Borgnine
Sigmund Romberg - Jose Ferrer

No sign of the Irving Berlin story. I guess he and his family said no.

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Re: COMPOSER BIOPICS

Postby JackFavell » November 23rd, 2012, 12:07 pm

Danny Thomas as Gus Kahn

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Re: COMPOSER BIOPICS

Postby moira finnie » November 23rd, 2012, 2:28 pm

Some less well known biopics about pop composers and songwriters:
(many of these are wildly inaccurate if entertaining, so maybe Irving Berlin was smart to nix any flicks about himself)


Victor Herbert - Walter Connolly (The Great Victor Herbert - 1939)
Paul Dresser - Victor Mature (My Gal Sal - 1942)
George M. Cohan - James Cagney (Yankee Doodle Dandy - 1942 & The Seven Little Foys - 1955)
Edward Solomon - Don Ameche (Lillian Russell - 1940)
Harry Fox - John Payne (The Dolly Sisters - 1945)
Richard Rodgers - Tom Drake (Words & Music - 1948)
Lorenz Hart - Mickey Rooney (Words & Music - 1948)
W.C. Handy - Nat King Cole (St. Louis Blues - 1958)
Woody Guthrie - David Carradine (Bound For Glory - 1976)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Dennis Quaid (Great Balls of Fire - 1989)
Cole Porter - Kevin Kline (De-Lovely - 2004)
Johnny Cash - Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line - 2005)

Three popular composers/performers whose lives might make a heckuva movie...I'm sure there are many more:
Hoagy Carmichael & Artie Shaw, Marvin Gaye
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Re: COMPOSER BIOPICS

Postby Vienna » November 23rd, 2012, 2:43 pm

Thanks for all the extras, Moira. How could I forget Cohan and Rodgers &Hart.

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Re: COMPOSER BIOPICS

Postby moira finnie » November 23rd, 2012, 4:28 pm

Vienna wrote:Thanks for all the extras, Moira. How could I forget Cohan and Rodgers &Hart.

You're welcome. It was fun thinking of these as the L-tryptophan wears off! I corrected my spelling of Richard Rodgers name thanks to you--having read a bit about him, two psychological mysteries could have been woven from the life of RR and Lorenz Hart.

The one popular music master it might have been lovely to know--Oscar Hammerstein II. Sentimental, canny, philosophical and down-to-earth seem to be words that describe this guy, at least from the accounts I have read about him from others who knew him, including Stephen Sondheim, who met him when he was a boy.

Vienna, how do you feel about classical composer biopics?
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Re: COMPOSER BIOPICS

Postby Vienna » November 23rd, 2012, 5:07 pm

Funny how it was nearly always the composers whom Hollywood honed in on, not the lyricists ,though of course Porter and Berlin did their own lyrics.
I always feel I hear too much Rodgers and Hammerstein and not enough Rodgers and Hart.
Amazing of course how Richard Rodgers went from writing the music first with Hart, to writing it after Hammerstein had done the words. Two wordsmiths so different, yet Rodgers 's genius worked with both.
Afraid,Moira, I'm not into classical music, my heroes are Kern, Porter, Gershwin ,Berlin and all the great songwriters of the early part of the twentieth century.Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer ,Romberg,Herbert also.

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Re: COMPOSER BIOPICS

Postby RedRiver » November 24th, 2012, 5:43 pm

always the composers whom Hollywood honed in on, not the lyricists

Mrs. Hammerstein was at a party where someone said Jerome Kern wrote "Ol' Man River." Mrs H said, "No. My husband wrote 'Ol Man River.' Jerome Kern wrote Dum-Dum-Dum-Dum!"

If ever there was a category of movies that didn't need to be made. What could be interesting about the life of a music writer? Write. Get discouraged. Succeed. Get fake grey at the temples! I get them mixed up. The one with Robert Walker is painful to sit through. Danny Thomas doesn't give us much. ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND is downright dull. I guess he's not a composer, though.

Then there are the band leaders. This is a little more lively. The process concerns performance rather than creation. Still, it's not very exciting. I'll listen to the CD and watch something with a story!

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Re: COMPOSER BIOPICS

Postby ChiO » November 25th, 2012, 7:48 am

A few more (though, in some cases, they are better known as interpreters rather than composers):

Stephen Foster - Don Ameche (Swanee River 1939)
Glenn Miller - James Stewart (The Glenn Miller Story 1954)
Benny Goodman - Steve Allen (The Benny Goodman Story 1956)
Billie Holiday - Diana Ross (Lady Sings the Blues 1972)
Buddy Holly - Gary Busey (The Buddy Holly Story 1978)
Loretta Lynn - Sissy Spacek (Coal Miner's Daughter 1980)
Patsy Cline - Jessica Lange (Sweet Dreams 1985)
Ritchie Valens - Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba 1987)
Charlie Parker - Forest Whitaker (Bird 1988)
Dennis Quaid - Jerry Lee Lewis (Great Balls of Fire 1989)
Jim Morrison/Robby Krieger - Val Kilmer/Frank Whaley (The Doors 1991)
Ray Charles - Jamie Foxx (Ray 2004)
Bobby Darin - Kevin Spacey (Beyond the Sea 2004)
Bob Dylan - Cate Blanchett, Ben Whislaw, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Marcus Carl Franklin (I'm Not There 2007)
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