1900. Danny Boodmann, a stoker on an American passenger liner, Virginian, finds a baby abandoned on the ship. He names the child Danny Boodmann T.D. Lemon Nineteen Hundred '1900' and raises the child as his own until his death in an accident on the ship. The child never leaves the ship and turns out to be a musical genius, especially when it comes to playing the piano. As an adult he befriends a trumpet player in the ship's band, Max Tooney. After several years on the ship Max leaves, and tells the story of 1900 to the owner of a music store.Written by
Exterior shots of the ship are the inspired blueprints of the SS Lusitania and her sister ship the SS Mauritania. The ballroom in which 1900 plays his piano in had a dome similar to the dome the SS Mauritania had in her ballroom during the transatlantic period. See more »
The recording equipment used for making the record was clearly acoustic in nature, showing large horns. This type of recording was largely replaced in 1925 by electrical recording, using microphones. Yet the recording was made somewhere between 1927 and 1933, according to Tooney's story. Furthermore, the recording engineer played back the matrix immediately; this would have ruined the matrix, which was cut in wax. In those days, immediate playback was only possible using a 2nd set of equipment expressly for that purpose. See more »
I still ask myself if I did the right thing when I abandoned his floating city. And I don't mean only for the work. The fact is, a friend like that, a real friend - you won't meet one again. If you just decide to hang up your sea legs, if you just want to feel something more solid beneath your feet - and it's then you no longer hear the music of the gods around you. But, like he used to say, you're never really done for, as long as you got a good story, and someone to tell it to. ...
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Original version released in Italy is 2 hours and 45 minutes long. A 123-minutes version premiered at the Locarno film Festival in July 1999. This shorter version is the same released in the USA by Fine Line under the title "The Legend of 1900". See more »
"The Legend of 1900" is not the most attractive title for a film and the Italian original, "The Legend of the Oceanic Pianist", is no better. in retrospect there is no title worthy of this film. The marquee should read simply "See This Film, Your Life Will Be Better for It."
The story, music, cinematography, direction and, I hazard to say, a near perfect performance by Tim Roth combine to make for a compelling film. The story is told with a poetic lyricism that is immediately captivating and that is more than enhanced by Lajos Koltai's well stated cinematography. Clarance Williams III's controlled overstatement as an unexpectedly nasty Jelly Roll Morton is the perfect contrast to Roth's underplayed and unworldly 1900.
The American release of the film is 125 minutes. The Italian release was 160 minutes. What are we missing. Maybe this shorter cut is better but I cannot forget the devastation that was wrought on "Once Upon A Time In America" for its 139 minute US theatrical release. I certainly would not be not adverse to being subjected to an additional 35 minutes of the film and judging for myself if it was too long.
Aside from its title the films only flaw is the exit song. After two hours of enthralling instrumentals the vocal on the exit song undercuts rather than underscores a masterful filmic experience.
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