Remember your initial excitement when you heard about "Round Midnight," and about "Bird"? Remember your disappointment after you saw them? Why didn't they let Dexter play anything up tempo!! Why did they make Bird a man-child!! Is every black man a tragic figure and every white man a dolt?
Possibly the most exasperating example of the genre is "Jung Man With a Horn." Sorry-Young Man. The insane ilk of psycho-babble that floats through this movie like celluloid arteriosclerosis is unmatched. Kirk Douglas/Bix Beiderbecke has "one wing" then falls for the broken pseudo-shrink Bacall who has a pet macaw? She smashes your 78's? I hate to see that; even if they're just Caruso on VIctor. You're right, Kirk/Bix, she is "dirty and twisted inside," while you-were-born-to-play-the-trumpet-and-can-only-communicate-through-that-damn-horn. Why, oh why do they try and foist off that juvenile premise: "I want to play the note that no one else has ever played?" Bejasus.
Don't ask me if the same 4th-class Freudianisms befoul the "Dorothy Baker novel of the same name." I can only deal with psychic effluvia in one genre at a time.
"Based on the life of Bix Beiderbecke"? My moldy toenail. Harry James, a fine player, is the film's "music adviser" and dubs the trumpet parts. Kirk Douglas pushes the trumpet valves convincingly and has the appropriate unyielding embouchure and convincing semi-ecstatic gleam in his eye. Unfortunately, Harry James' style bears as much resemblance to Bix's as, well-you finish the analogy. I don't want to sound churlish. Happily, the movie is quite informative for all you trumpet players out there, as there are at least 4 mentions of the loathsome "roll" in this movie. You know, where the mouthpiece gets too low on your lower lip? You better correct it pronto, or I will strap you in this comfy chair and force you to listen to cinematic dialogue about trumpet rolls until your chops fall off. There are good documentaries about jazz. Why is this music such an lousy fit in feature films?
A "Bad" Embouchure