Here we are again for another new release on disc, this time the 1954 movie The Glenn Miller Story, starring James Stewart and June Allyson.
James Stewart plays Glenn Miller, a trombone player, who pals around with Chummy (Harry Morgan, or Henry, as he was billed here). When the owner of the pawn shop where Glenn repeatedly pawns his trombone helps them find a job, Glenn makes use of the opportunity to visit his girlfriend, Helen Burger (June Allyson), whom he hasn’t seen in several years. They enjoy a brief time together, before he leaves for New York. A few years later, he realizes he can’t live without her, and has her come to New York so they can get married. After they get married, she helps him towards realizing his long-time dream of discovering his “sound,” and he forms an orchestra of his own.
In reading about this movie, it appears that James Stewart attempted to learn to play the trombone for the role. Apparently, he didn’t learn well enough, so he had to be dubbed for it, although he did learn to at least pantomime playing the trombone well enough. The movie is supposed to be based on real events (although I’m not familiar enough to be able to determine just how accurate the movie is). Of course, part of the fun with the movie is some of the real Glenn Miller’s peers who show up in the movie, such as Louis Armstrong, drummer Gene Krupa, Ben Pollack, and others.
The movie might barely classify as a Christmas movie, but that would mostly be due to the film’s ending. I can’t really comment on that much more without giving away the ending, but it is a wonderful moment. Now, I had not seen this movie previously. At best, I could only claim to have heard of it in passing. As I said, I’m not the most familiar with Glenn Miller himself, as I only really hear about most of these orchestras through movies such as this, whether they be biographical, like this one or The Eddy Duchin Story, or films that some of the orchestras themselves appear in (apparently, Glenn Miller had appeared in at least two movies in the early forties, although I haven’t seen them yet). Whatever, this is a movie that I did enjoy discovering, and one I would recommend.
The movie is available on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory and DVD from Universal, and is about one hour, fifty-six minutes in length.
My Rating: 10/10 (again, as with The Blue Dahlia, my opinion is solely on the movie itself, and not on the Blu-ray transfer, which looks like it could use some work, although it is at least widescreen now, as opposed to being pan-and-scan like older releases have been. Still, I think it still looks good enough that it doesn’t take away from the movie itself).