Rhapsody in Blue is a story that is as enchanting as the music of its central character, the legendary George Gershwin. Robert Alda plays the talented composer in this moving tribute to one of America’s premier musical artists. Although it was intended that the Gershwins’ eldest son, Ira, take piano lessons, it was his younger brother George who displayed a real talent for music. Following years of practice and an assortment of jobs, George worked his way from a music hall pianist to a Tin Pin Alley “song plugger.” Gershwin experienced his first great success with “Swanee” (sung in the film by the man who made it famous, the inimitable Al Jolson). Despite his ensuing accomplishments with hit songs and stage successes, the musical genius yearned for something greater – to create unique American music, combining the European classics and popular songs. In addition to its inspirational story, Rhapsody in Blue is musically uplifting, featuring a two hour feast of classic Gershwin.
If you love the music of Gershwin, you are in for a real treat with Rhapsody in Blue. Which, while from what I understand not historically accurate, is chock full of wonderful musical numbers including: “Rhapsody in Blue,” “An American in Paris,” and “Swannee”. What makes it extra special is that the movie also has some amazing stars playing themselves. Which means in some instances you can see the legends who helped make the music a hit, actually performing it. So you get the likes of Al Jolson, Paul Whiteman, and Oscar Levant performing in well edited numbers (almost like music videos) that will make you want to rewind and re-watch.
If you like musicals (and who doesn’t nowadays), you will adore Rhapsody in Blue. I am happy to see that the Warner Archive is digging up some of these treasures and giving them a a new life on DVD, so I can stop fumbling around week after week looking for stuff to watch on my DVR and just own them finally.
Order Rhapsody in Blue on DVD [via] Amazon