Friday, September 14, 2012

Young Man with a Horn (1950).

Young Man with a Horn (1950). Drama. Based on a biographical novel of the same name about the life of Bix Beiderbecke. Cast: Doris Day, Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall.

The story begins, Musician Smoke Willoughby, thinks back to when he first meet his friend legendary trumpet player Rick Martin.:

After his mother dies, Rick moves in with his sister in California. Rick sees a trumpet in a pawn shop window and gets a job in a bowling alley to pay for it. Next to the bowling alley is a Jazz club, where Rick hears jazz for the first time.

He quickly makes friends with the trumpet player Art Hazzard, who teaches his young friend how to play the trumpet. As Rick gets older, he finds odd jobs playing for carnivals and dance marathons.

Rick decides to follow Art to New York and lands a job playing trumpet for big band leader Jack Chandler, where he meets Smoke and singer Jo.

Chandler insists that Rick play the music exactly as written. Chandler fires Rick after he plays a jazzy number. Despite Jo's efforts, Rick refuses to go back when Chandler offers to rehire him. Rick learns that his friend Art has been sick and he returns to New York. Jo gets him a job with another orchestra.

Some evenings Rick goes over to help out Art at Louis Galba's nightclub. Jo brings her friend Amy to hear Rick play. Amy, who is studying to be a psychiatrist, blames her father for her mother's death and believes that she is not capable of love.


 They fall in love and are married, soon after Rick and Amy start to have problems because of his dedication to music. Will Rick be torn away from playing the trumpet to save his marriage?

For anyone who loves jazz, this is a wonderful movie. The soundtrack to this movie is awesome.(trumpet played by Harry James). Kirk Douglas is perfect for Rick's character. Lauren Bacall performance as a manipulative heiress was perfect.

Fun Facts:

Kirk Douglas's trumpet licks were performed by Harry James.

 The Columbia 10-inch studio LP featuring Doris Day and Harry James hit the top spot on "Billboard"'s popular albums chart.

Doris Day wrote that she was unhappy making this film, which brought back stressful memories of her early career as a band singer, and also because Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall (having dated at one time in real life) seemed to intentionally shut her out, making her feel unwelcome.

At least three times, you will see trumpeters in the movie using mutes different from those on the sound track. For example, in the Christmas Eve scene, Rick is shown using a Harmon mute and Harry James' dub of the tune is with a cup mute.

Features one of the earliest references to homosexuality. The character of Amy played by Lauren Bacall is suppose to be a lesbian, which is why Rick, played by Kirk Douglas, walks out on her telling her that she is "a very sick girl".

Mary Beth Hughes (November 13, 1919 – August 27, 1995)  While acting in a school play in the early 1930s, her performance caught the attention of Clifford Brown, a repertory theater company owner, who offered her a part in a touring production of Alice in Wonderland.

 While touring with another production in Brown's company, she was offered a contract from a talent scout with Gaumont-British Studios but declined the offer to finish high school. After graduating from high school in 1937, she returned to Brown's theater company, where she continued to appear in various stage productions until the summer of 1938, when she relocated to Los Angeles with her mother to pursue a film career.

 After six months of failing to land movie roles, Hughes and her mother made plans to return to Washington, D.C., until Hughes met an agent, Wally Ross. Ross introduced Hughes to powerful William Morris agent Johnny Hyde. Hyde landed Hughes a contract with MGM, and she soon landed a small, uncredited role in the 1939 film Broadway Serenade.

 After Broadway Serenade, Hughes appeared in other bit parts in films including The Women with Norma Shearer, Dancing Co-Ed with Lana Turner, and the Busby Berkeley film Fast and Furious. In 1940 Hughes was offered a contract with 20th Century-Fox.

Later that year she landed a role opposite John Barrymore in The Great Profile, a part she later noted as one of her favorites. Fox did not renew her contract when it expired in 1943, and the following year she began appearing in a nightclub act and soon signed a three-picture deal with Universal Pictures.

Throughout the mid-40s and early '50s, Hughes appeared in film and television roles, including the cult classic I Accuse My Parents (which was later parodied on Mystery Science Theater 3000), Waterfront at Midnight, Wanted: Dead or Alive (episode "Secret Ballot"),The Devil's Henchman, The Abbott and Costello Show, Dragnet and Studio One.

 In 1961, Hughes decided to retire from acting and began working as a receptionist in a plastic surgeon's office, although she continued her appearances in nightclubs. The following year she directed and starred in a Los Angeles production of Pajama Top.

For the rest of the '60s she would go on to appear in television shows like Rawhide and Dennis the Menace. In 1970 she landed a regular role on The Red Skelton Show, appearing in 11 episodes before the show ended later that year.

 In 1976 she again retired from show business, explaining that she was "tired of auditioning for sexy grandma roles."Hughes' last onscreen appearance was in the 1976 film Tanya. In the late 1970s Hughes opened a beauty parlor in Canoga Park, California. She closed the shop in the late 1980s and began working as a telemarketer until 1991, when she was laid off.

 As a starlet under contract with MGM, Hughes went on studio-appointed dates with several actors, including Lew Ayres, Franchot Tone, Mickey Rooney, and James Stewart. While under contract to Fox, she also went on prearranged dates with Milton Berle and George Montgomery.

 In 1940, against Fox's wishes, Hughes began a relationship with actor Robert Stack. The romance lasted a year. After her romance with Stack ended, Hughes married actor Ted North in 1943. The couple had one son, Donald, before divorcing in 1947. In 1948, she married singer/actor David Street. The marriage ended in 1956. In 1973 Hughes married her manager, Nicky Stewart, but that marriage also ended in divorce four years later.


  1. I like Doris Day, so I'm surprised I haven't seen this one. Douglas and Day seem like an odd pairing, but then I remember Love Me or Leave Me with Cagney and Day and that worked out pretty well.

  2. It is more of a Lauren Bacall and Kirk Douglas paring...

  3. Nice information to share, i have bookmarked your site and will revisit.

  4. This looks like my kind of movie, even though Doris Day isn't in it it looks like the perfect film to spend the afternoon in, with.

    Thanks for posting this!



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