The Legend of 1900

by - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I haven't met one single person in my life that doesn't enjoy music. Whatever the kind, there is something out there for everyone, but I'm not here to talk of music in general. I'm here to talk of a movie about classical music, pianos, boats, jazz, unrequited love, friendship and a music prodigy. 

I'm here to talk of "The Legend of 1900".

I'm finding it hard on where to start with this film, from the excellent direction of Giuseppe Tornatore to the dreamy music of Ennio Morricone to the stunning performances of Tim Roth and Pruitt Taylor Vince, but I'll try my best.

Shortly after the Second World War, a musician with the name of Max visits a pawn shop to sell his trumpet. He asks to play one last tune before he gives the instrument away when the shopkeeper recognizes it as one on a wax master of an unreleased recording, discovered and restored from shards found in a piano salvaged from a cruise ship turned hospital ship, now slated for demolition. This chance discovery prompts a story from Max, for he is a born storyteller. 

Though now down on his luck and disillusioned by his wartime experiences, the New Orleans-born Max was once an enthusiastic and gifted young jazz musician, whose longest gig was several years with the house band aboard the Virginian, a posh cruise ship. While gaining his sea legs, he was befriended by another young man, the pianist in the same band, whose long unlikely name was Danny Boodman T.D. Lemons 1900, though everyone called him 1900, the year of his birth. Abandoned in first class by his immigrant parents, 1900 was found and adopted by Danny, a stoker, who raised him in the engine rooms. After Danny's death in an accident, 1900 remained on the ship. 

Lured by the sound of the piano in the first-class ballroom, 1900 eventually becomes a gifted pianist, a great jazz improvisationist, a composer of rich modern music inspired by his intense observation of the life around him, the stories passengers on all levels of the ship trusted him to tell. He also grew up to be a charming young man, at once shrewd and oddly innocent. And yet for all the richness and variety of his musical expression, he never left the ship, except almost once, in the aftermath of his infatuation with a beautiful young woman immigrant who inspired the music committed to the master Max discovers in the pawnshop. Max realizes that 1900 must still be on the ship, and determines to find him, and to find out once and for all why he has refused to leave so consistently.

I know most people have associated Tim Roth to one of his most famous roles, that of a gangster in Reservoir Dogs, but believe me, you will quite possibly forget it after watching his performance in this one. His sad, expressive eyes were the catalyst for me. 

Now usually that's where I insert the trailer of the film, but in this case I found the whole movie uploaded on Youtube, so here it is. 

I hope you love it as much as I do. 

Until next time,


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