The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

THE GLENN MILLER STORY (1954) ***

James Stewart gives a heartfelt and likeable performance as big band leader Glenn Miller in this saccharine, but enjoyable biopic. Glenn gets his start playing trombone in big bands, while working on arrangements on the side. He hears a certain sound in his head and he figures the only way he can duplicate it is by forming his own band. Glenn marries his sweetheart (June Allyson) who encourages his dream. After a lot of hard work and some lucky breaks, Glenn becomes the biggest name in the business.

The Glenn Miller Story is lightweight to a fault. All great biopics usually have the subject facing some great adversity, and Miller’s great adversity just seems to be paying his rent and keeping his musical instruments out of the pawn shop window (these scenes admittedly, are pretty fun). Because of that, there aren’t any real stakes. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

In fact, Stewart and Allyson are so good together you hardly notice the flimsy script. (Her final scene is particularly memorable.) And director Anthony Mann (who previously worked with Stewart on the excellent Winchester ’73) keeps things moving at a steady clip. Plus, you get to hear a lot of Glenn Miller’s best stuff, lovingly recreated. (The third act almost plays like a greatest hits compilation.) And I thought it was cool seeing how Miller found the inspiration for some of his songs. And as an added bonus, you get to see a pretty cool jam session between Louis Armstrong and Gene Krupa.

AKA: Moonlight Serenade.

Next week at The Clayton: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

Tags: drama, g, musical
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