Rhapsody in Blue (film)

Rhapsody in Blue is an American biopic from 1945, which deals with the life of composer George Gershwin. The screenplay is based on recordings of Sonya Levien.


The brothers George and Ira Gershwin grow on the Lower East Side in New York. Her mother Rose has saved enough money to buy a piano, so that the older, Ira, piano lessons can take. George also has musical talent, but he 'd rather go to college. Here he is taught by Professor Frank. His piano playing is getting better.

George takes a job as a pianist at a vaudeville theater on, then in a music store. But his big dream is to compose. When one day the singer Julie Adams enters the shop, George plays one of his own compositions, Swanee, for them. But when his boss hears that he plays his own compositions on the piano during his working hours, he fires him. George gets a two-year contract with the music publisher Harms. Director Max Dreyfus sold Swanee to the singer Al Jolson, who lands a hit with it.

Professor Frank George warns against squandering his talent in mainstream music, but George accepts the offer. for the Broadway show Half Past Eight by Julie Adams to write songs. The musical is not a success, but with George White's Scandals of 1921 he then made ​​a breakthrough. Together with his brother Ira, who excels as a copywriter, George composed a string of hits. With Blue Monday Blues, which is influenced by spirituals, it triggers controversy. The conductor Paul Whiteman asks him to write a blues piece for a jazz concert. The result is Rhapsody in Blue. As Professor Frank learns what gets his student for this, he dies.

Walter Damrosch of the New York Symphony Orchestra gives a concert in order, after which George travels to Paris to continue his studies. Here he met the wealthy painter Christine Gilbert know who introduces him to the composer Maurice Ravel. George returns to the earlier Christine in the U.S., which the jealous Julie brings in despair. But Christine noted that the music George loves more than her, and leaves him. George travels back to Paris to complete the planned concert. George's father dies of leukemia and blames him before his death for having broken up with Julie.

In Los Angeles, George composed incessantly. For the musical Of Thee I Sing he gets the Pulitzer Prize. He wrote the opera Porgy and Bess, which is staffed only with black actors. Georges health suffers, he suffers fainting spells, and is haunted by headaches. When he collapses in a sample, Julie wants to come immediately to Los Angeles. In New York, Oscar Levant carries the Concerto in F before. The applause is enormous, but ends the performance by the news of the sudden death of the composer in great grief.


The judges of the International Encyclopedia of the film: " The biographical unreliable, sentimental and sometimes kitschy film has its merits in good time recording the atmosphere and dazzling Gershwin -presented music. "

The film magazine Cinema appear in the film a "dime - issue story with great show deposits"

Bosley Crowther said of the New York Times, the people who produced the film, were completely overwhelmed with the complex topic that the biography to an unclear and limping matter would be.

" Channel 4 " compared the film with other biographies of popular musicians. The film offers everything: Politos precise camera work, guest appearances, lush arrangements and great songs. He offers everything but the truth.

A Commentary by Oscar Levant about the film was: ". Even the lies about Gershwin were being distorted " (Even the lies about Gershwin were twisted. )


1946 orchestra leader Ray Heinsdorf and composer Max Steiner in the category of Best Original Score were nominated (Musical) and Nathan Levinson for Best Sound for an Oscar.


The world premiere production of Warner Bros. took place in New York on June 27, 1945. In Germany the film was first published on April 28, 1948 in the cinemas.

Paul Whiteman, Al Jolson, Oscar Levant, Hazel Scott and the journalist Elsa Maxwell have small appearances and play himself. The soprano Anne Brown is seen in a performance of Porgy and Bess as Bess.

Robert Alda, father of Alan Alda, began with this film his screen career. Herbert Rudley also made ​​his film debut.

The movie characters Julie Adams, Christine Gilbert and Professor Frank are pure inventions. Gershwin's real music teacher did not die in the night of the performance of Rhapsody in Blue.


In the movie the following song by George Gershwin played:

  • Embraceable You ( Joan Leslie )
  • Swanee (Al Jolson )
  • Rhapsody in Blue (Robert Alda )
  • Concerto in F ( Robert Alda and Oscar Levant )
  • Summertime ( Anne Brown)
  • The Man I Love ( Hazel Scott)
  • An American in Paris ( orchestral version conducted by Leo F. Forbstein )
  • Blue Monday Blues
  • I Got Rhythm ( Hazel Scott)
  • Love Walked In ( Mark Stevens)
  • S Wonderful ( chorus )
  • Somebody Loves Me (Johnny Downs and Joan Leslie )
  • Drifting Along with the Tide
  • Stairway to Paradise ( Choir)
  • Oh, Lady Be Good (chorus )
  • Has One of You Seen Joe?
  • I'm Gonna See My Mother
  • Clap Yo ' Hands ( Hazel Scott)
  • Fascinating Rhythm ( Hazel Scott)
  • The Yankee Doodle Blues ( Hazel Scott)
  • Bidin ' My Time
  • Cuban Overture
  • Mine ( Robert Alda, Oscar Levant )
  • Delishious ( Joan Leslie )
  • It Is not Necessarily So
  • Someone to Watch Over Me
  • Do It Again
  • Liza

Joan Leslie's singing was dubbed by Sally Sweetland.