The Book and the Movie: Young Man With A Horn | Michael Curtiz | Dorothy Baxter


''He opened the trumpet case, took the trumpet respectfully in hand, and fitted the mouthpiece into place. He held it away from him, in profile, to admire its lines, polite preliminary to the act of making music. This had become tradition with him, and it never changed. He always felt a mystical relationship between himself and the medium of his music, a kind of personal, conscious communion, like love, only surer. It was a sense that whatever he put into it, it would give him back in equal measure up to a certain point, and beyond that, anything could happen: if he did his utmost the horn might even come back with a bonus, such was the heightened trust between them.''


''They played hard and they played well and it wasn’t all solo either. Toward daylight they had built up a blend of melody and harmony that was older and emotionally deeper than the brave virtuosity of the first hours. It was the music of men who look backward with wisdom rather than forward with faith. They were tired now, and dependent on each other, not so ruggedly individualistic. They brought the dawn in with sad and mellow music.''


''The only records that pay for themselves are the new ones with a vocal. People buy them to learn the words... They don't care how you play it. You and Art on the same record wouldn't matter a damn to more than two hundred people in the whole country. Who buys records is the high school girls. You know that...
They just want to learn the words.''

Young Man With A Horn,  Dorothy Baxter, 1946

Young Man With A Horn, supposedly is about “Bix” Beiderbecke life story.
In reality, Beiderbecke’s story wasn't so glamorous.


Young Man With A Horn, 1950 screen play by Carl Foreman and Edmund H. North based on the novel by Dorothy Baker; directed by Michael Curtiz; produced by Jerry Wald for Warner Brothers. At the Radio City Music Hall.

Rick Martin . . . . . Kirk Douglas
Amy North . . . . . Lauren Bacall
Jo Jordan . . . . . Doris Day
Smoke Willoughby . . . . . Hoagy Carmichael
Art Hazzard . . . . . Juano Hernandez
Phil Morrison . . . . . Jerome Cowan
Marge Martin . . . . . Mary Beth Hughes


Harry James did all the trumpet playing for the movie, Young Man With A Horn, 1950
Harry James - Moanin' Low

"Hey Smoke! How about playing something our way?''
Hoagy Carmichael with Kirk Douglas in still from the film Young Man with a Horn.


In New York, on September 15, 1930, Beiderbecke played on the original recording of Hoagy Carmichael’s new song, “Georgia on My Mind”, with Carmichael doing the vocal, Eddie Lang on guitar, Joe Venuti on violin, Jimmy Dorsey on clarinet and alto saxophone, Jack Teagarden on trombone, and Bud Freeman on tenor saxophone. The song would go on to become a jazz and popular music standard.













Harry James & his Orchestra with Doris Day - With A Song in My Heart

Harry James & his Orchestra with Doris Day - Would I Love You (Love You Love You)

''They played the only way they knew how to play, in strict syncopation, but they played softly in deep brass tones, so fluidly blended that they sounded like double stops.''

''All he knew was that he was good and he wanted to be better. The honest truth was that he wanted to be the best.''
Doris Day, Kirk Douglas & Lauren Bacall

''Rick moved in with her...
All Rick had to do was to hang his clothes in a closet, give away his phonograph, and stack his records with hers...
The nights when they came back to the apartment and drank until nothing was real were as close as they ever came to anything good: the night when Amy played Stravinsky on the phonograph, and Rick, lying on the white rug in front of the fire, swore it was Jimmy Snowden playing that trombone; and the night when Rick got up and played the piano with records to prove to Amy that he could play the piano along with a record as easily as he could whistle with one - if you can get a piano to trust you, all you have to do is think what you want it to do for you and it will. " But they just don' t like me", Amy said. "Oh, i know it, they loathe me; they stiffen up when i come near."

"I ' ll tell you something, ... I can play the piano. I know how to play one piece, only one. It makes me feel strange to talk about it, because once i was so in love with this piece that it tore me all up.''

''The night she played it, she played it seven times. It was Debussy, "Clair de Lune" and she played it impeccably. Rick had fallen asleep, and she left him and poured herself a drink and then she played it. Rick heard it far away, stood up and began to walk toward it, and when he came to the door he saw Amy across the room, her shoulders naked and white above the piano, her face tense above the music, and a long, unlighted cigarette in her mouth. The sublime grotesque. Rick stood in the doorway and let himself see her as she was. He never got over it. And that was the only time he ever heard her play.''

''He knew now that he had never known Amy. He could remember things about her; he could remember things they' d done, but it was as if someone else had told them to him. It was impossible now to believe that he and Amy had ever had more than a speaking acquaintance.''

Young Man With A Horn,  Dorothy Baxter, 1946
''He made records with anybody that asked him, but he didn't sit behind any orchestra leaders and he didn't play any more hotel dance music. He simply didn't take offers. He stayed in the joints with his own kind, the incurables, the boys who felt the itch to discover something. He stayed within the closed circle of the fanatics, the old bunch of alchemists, and there he did his work. One night after another he soaked out the real world with alcohol and, free of it, he played music that could stand up with any music. There were times when a bell rang and he had the pleasure of knowing he was a good man. He knew it once in awhile. The rest of them knew it all the time, every time he played that horn.''

''The good thing, finally, is to lead a devoted life, even if it swings around and strikes you in the face.''

Young Man With A Horn,  Dorothy Baxter, 1946

 On the set 

  Shooting a scene in Young Man With A Horn, 1950                                    Michael Curtiz directs Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall on the set of Young Man with a Horn (1950) by Alfred Eisenstaedt


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