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Rent >> Young Man With a Horn

Young Man With a Horn
Young Man With a Horn (1950)
Actor: Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, Hoagy Carmichael, Juano Hernandez, Bill Walker, Burk Symon, Hugh Murray, Ivor James, James Griffith, Jerome Cowan, (more) Larry Rio, Lewell Enge, Louis Armstrong, Mary Beth Hughes, Nestor Paiva, Orley Lindgren, Paul E. Burns, Sid Kane, Walter Reed
Director: Michael Curtiz
Genre: Drama, Musicals
Year: 1950
Studio: Warner Home Video
Length: 112 minutes
Released: April 26, 2005
Rating: NR
Format: DVD
Misc: NTSC, Full Screen, Black & White
Language: English (Original Language), French (Subtitled), Spanish (Subtitled), English (Subtitled)
With a second-hand trumpet and the loving guidance of a brilliant bluesman, a lonely boy grows into manhood as a superb musician whose talent carries him from honky-tonks to posh supper clubs. But his desperate search for the elusive high note trapped in his mind but impossible to play starts him on a boozy downward slide. Charged with dynamic performances by Kirk Douglas (the title role), Doris Day, Lauren Bacall and Hoagy Carmichael and pitch-perfect direction by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca), the film is a feast of hot, cool, moody jazz. Legendary Harry James dubbed Douglas' hornwork. Day brings another fine instrument - her voice - to four standards. Movie and music lovers will be glad to meet this man.

  • Doris Day Trailer Gallery
  • Not what it ought to've been, but very, very watch- and listen-able

    Ray Olson | 01/16/2015
    My, but this is a good-looking movie! Michael Curtiz combines in it the noirish lusciousness of Mildred Pierce and, showing he's been more than paying attention to new trends, some of the best "neorealist" street footage outside of noir in the sequences in which the boy Rick wanders the streets of some California city and, years later, as a drunken, broken man, stumbles through New York's lower east side (I think). In his third outing with Doris Day, Curtiz is sheer professionalism with her scenes, though she doesn't appear as scrubbed, girl-next-door dazzling as in Romance on the High Seas and My Dream Is Yours, both, unlike Young Man, Technicolor films. She has much better songs in this movie, though, ones we all want to hear her take on, and she's backed by outfits led by Harry James, who plays all Rick's (Kirk Douglas) parts. If this was all that there was to the movie, it's be pretty darn satisfying. And it is, but . . . it dilutes the peculiar yet impressive 1938 Dorothy Baker novel it is based on rather too much. Baker, wearing her radical orientation not TOO obviously, makes much more of the story's racial subtext than does Carl Foreman and Edmund H. North's adaptation. Rick's mentor, Art Hazzard, is a pianist and only a few years older than Rick, while "Smoke" (Hoagy Carmichael) is a black drummer (hence his monicker) the same age as Rick. Most important, Rick dies in the novel, whereas the film has him bouncing back, having learned to be a good person first, a great musician second (so what does this say? That a great player can't be a good man, too? Huh?). Both novel and film attempt to make a legend or myth of the jazz musician's life. The novel suffers from being too abstract and disconnected from real life; it's a genuine fan's tribute. The movie suffers from insufficient substance under its powerful superficial realism. Technically, it's a helluva movie, in which Douglas very appealingly restrains his scenery-munching tendencies, Juano Hernandez just about doesn't become pathetic as usual, Lauren Bacall is first-rate as a nearly psychotic ball-buster, Doris Day acts as well as sings relaxed assurance, Hoagy Carmichael is totally ingratiating while sticking out like a golden thumb, and, as I started out saying more descriptively, the mise-en-scene is marvelous. --Ray Olson
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