Every so often I like to showcase a movie review–mine to be specific. “The Legend of 1900,” happens to be on my list of favorite movies (though I had quite forgotten about it until this past week). It is the first English speaking film put out by the Italian filmmaker, Giuseppe Tornatore. It is one of those movies that I enjoyed so much, I allowed my children to endure the influence of the “F-word”, at a young age, because the set and storyline supersede the placement of the explicative. Well actually, I don’t think I allowed Esther to see the movie in its entirety when she was a wee one, though I most certainly would now. Cole, on the other hand, was allowed to watch it through to completion. It is rated “R”, for language only (never mind that the ‘PG’ rating from the 1980’s permitted full female nudity such as in the cult classic, “16 Candles”). And though the movie is purely fictional, the depth of the character portrayals draws the viewer in causing one to come away from the film believing the story to be a true account. Brilliant film making if you ask me.
Additionally, the film is a period piece, it moves between the mid 1940’s (post war) to the vibrant 1920’s (mostly aboard a cruise liner, similar in elegance to the Titanic). I would love to give away the ending (actually Wikipedia does), however I realize some people like to be in the dark, regarding a story’s outcome, and so to respect that possibility I will refrain. But just know that I LOVE how this movie ends. Which in and of itself reflects upon my homage to film noir, though the term can only be loosely applied to Legend of 1900.
Now the one particular scene (…I believe the only scene I allowed Esther to partake in previously), which I am including a viewing link to, is a piano duel between the lead protagonist, 1900, and the other pianist who in the film is considered the “inventor of jazz”. Not only do I enjoy this segment because the set is aboard the fantastic elegance of the cruise ship, but also because the piano playing, and parlaying of talents, is wonderfully showcased. I am a lover of percussion…no wonder my offspring are both drummers, beginning their formal musical instruction on the piano (informal on guitar, harmonica, conga drum, and bongos–courtesy their Dad). At any rate, getting myself back to the dual scene. The man, 1900, is a humble lover of music. His gift is genuine and his buddy, who had placed a wager that he would win, is sweating because 1900 is allowing himself to get wrapped up in the melodies of the talented opponent. Ideally he should, in the mind of his friend (and I should mention narrator of the movie), be contriving his inner competitive nature to get the job done and win the duel. Meanwhile the, quite accomplished, other pianist is too in love with himself to appreciate the opportunity at hand. And in the end, as the good book states, his pride is the means of his undoing (“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18).
The clip I am featuring is not the best quality clip I could have chosen. However, the better quality clip omits a significant line or two at the end and I feel the integrity of seeing the scene in its entirety trumps the auditory perk. Besides, I am hoping this movie review will “wet your whistle”, or entice your desire, to see the movie for yourself. I am also curious to know if any of you are familiar with this film. I have yet to run across another who is “in the know.” 🙂