Rhapsody in Blue (1945) Script

[Playing music]


Jack, can I trade this in for a nickel?

Sorry, Georgie, but I can't use it.

Must I hear that number every day?

George!

Ira, do you got a nickel?

Nope.

What's that--

Another deadwood dick?

It ain't much good.

Say, we better get back and do our homework.

Race you home.

Hey, wait a minute!

[Shouting]

Man: A little more to the left.

Steady now, boys.

How's it coming up there, Jerry?

Mom!

Who's getting a piano?

It's the Gershwin.

We don't have one.

Who wants a second-handed piano?

Come on inside.

What's going on?

Search me.

Gee, a piano. Some lucky guy.

Hey, that's our window!

No. There must be some mistake.

Let's go see.

Now, George, if it's not for us, don't be disappointed.

One piano comes in the house, and right away the whole place is turned upside down on its head.

The house needs music. I've made up my mind.

Do you play the piano? Do I?

If your married sister can have one, why can't we?

So if she has a headache, I must have one, too.

Anyhow, a piano in the house is a sign of culture.

Woman: George, Ira, look out!

How many times-- Look out! Look out!

Ira!

Oh, always coming in with skates on the carpet. Look.

Hey, mom, does the piano belong to us?

Mm-hmm, so long as we can pay the installments.

Positively we will pay the installments, and Ira will take lessons.

Ira?!

Oh, momma, have a heart.

You heard what I said.

Gee, do I have to take them?

You're the oldest.

[Playing piano]

There, now.

Without even a lesson.

[Playing scales]

Woman: 1, 2, 3, 4.

1, 2, 3, 4. 1, 2, 3, 4.

1, 2, 3, 4. 1...

[Playing classical music]

Don't try to improve upon the classics, Mr. Gershwin.

[Piano playing]

Morris, I never saw such children.

Always wearing out the cuffs.

And George-- He tears off the buttons.

Look at it.

At their age, they've got their own worries.

What are you fixing now?

I'm not fixing. I'm ruining.

Morris, tell George to go downstairs and help out with the bakery.

Always playing music.

I'll go, mom, as soon as I'm through.

If he wants to play, momma, let him.

You, Ira-- always with a book under your nose.

Rose, when they're outside, you want them inside, so when they're inside, leave them alone.

Who's bothering them?

Ah, such a mechanism. It's too involved.

[Knock on door]

Can I come in?

You're in already. What is it-- a telephone call?

No. Georgie.

Yeah?

Chico Marx tells me you should give me a nickel.

What for?

I got a message.

Poppa: What kind of a message?

Poppa.

A message always costs.

Thanks, Mr. Gershwin.

Such a popular family.

Every day a telephone call.

Well, what do you know? At last I got the job--

Relief pianist in a theater.

Who do you relieve?

Chico Marx.

Chico? He's the best pianist in the whole neighborhood.

Sonny, I don't want you to work in no cheap vaudeville show.

It's a good job, mom.

Ira: A fella has to start somewhere, momma.

What a break, Georgie.

They've got some pretty good acts over there.

Here's one of the songs.

[Playing music]

[Stops playing]

[Laughter]

Don't pay any attention to me, son. I just work here.

[Laughter]

Excuse me.

You're not a piano player.

You're a juggler.

Come on, give me that tempo, will you?

I don't know what I'd do without him down there, but I'd rather!

[Piano playing]

[Bangs piano]

[Laughter]

[Playing chopin]

[Playing ragtime]

Mm-hmm.

[Playing classical]

[Playing ragtime]

Stop it. Stop it!

Is that what you learn in the vaudeville job?

No. I quit that job, but I'll get another one soon, and it will pay me more than 15 bucks a week.

15 or 50 or 500-- Does that make up for ruining your technique when you have it in you to become a concert pianist? Does it?

No, but, professor Franck, I--I don't want to be just a concert pianist.

Just a concert pianist.

Oh, I didn't mean it that way, only...

Well, I want to make the piano a steppingstone.

A steppingstone-- and where will you step to, Mr. Gershwin?

To--to composition.

So for whom will you compose--

For ragtime dancers or for musicians?

I don't know. Maybe for both.

Seems like everything I hear sticks in my head.

I want to make those sounds come down through my fingers and into the keys.

[Playing music]

Go on, go on.

[Playing music]

[Sigh]

You don't have to say anything.

I--I know it isn't any good.

Did I say it wasn't any good?

Professor Franck, you mean that you really--

Ah, ah, ah. One swallow does not a summer make...

But it is different, shall I say?

Perhaps it was music half-formed.

Now, then, play that chopin, but without ragging it!

[Playing chopin]


♪ That the eyes of love alone will see ♪

♪ But the smiles that fill my life with sunshine ♪

♪ Are the smiles that you gave to me ♪

They don't like this stuff.

Oh, what's the diff?

We got to make them like it, the chowder heads.

Anyway, it's time to go home.

Ah, they need something different. So do we.

Oh, a reformer! Let's go.

You can address it to Remick and company. Thank you.

[People playing pianos and singing]

♪ From Honolulu to... ♪

♪ Come and let me rock you in my cradle of love ♪

♪ And we'll cuddle all the while ♪

♪ Oh, I want to love... ♪

[Accordion playing]

[Piano playing]

No, pick it up, pick it up.

[Playing faster]

No, no. It's no--no pep. That's no good.

Did I say it was good?

I've played about everything we've got.

Well, sorry. I've got to have something with snap.

Say, wait a minute. How's this?

[Playing music]

Hey, that's pretty good! Who wrote it?

I did.

You did? Well!

Whew! Congratulations!

I'll take a copy.

Wait a minute. It isn't published yet.

Say, that's an idea.

Mr. Kast, please.

Yes, Gershwin.

Oh, so he don't like any of our numbers.

No, but I played him a song, and he likes it. It's my own.

Oh, so he likes something you wrote?

Listen, Pinkers, you're being paid to play Remick numbers, not your own. Do you mind?

No, we don't want to publish it!

He doesn't want to publish it.

Well, that's his hard luck.

Tell him he hasn't got anything else I want, but if your song ever gets published, you let me know.

Thanks very much.

[Door closes]

George.

Listen, George, don't let Kast get you down.

He doesn't know the first thing about music.

You're telling me.

I heard that number you were playing. It's alright.

Did you really like it, bill?

It has the smell of originality.

Heaven knows that's rare on these premises.

But what am I going to do?

I've written 5 songs, and not one of them published.

How old are you, George?

Old enough.

Don't be in too great a hurry to set the world afire.

You'll fizz yourself out like acetylase powder.

Well, I guess I'm just wasting the firm's time.

Bill, I haven't even--

Pardon me. Is this the place where you get free music?

Well, it's free, but is it music?

What? Oh, I guess I'm in the wrong place.

No, wait a minute. I'm sorry.

I was just being funny. Come in.

Do you give away music here?

Why, any amount of it to professionals.

You're a professional, of course.

Well, I--I'm going to be.

I have an audition this afternoon.

You don't say.

But I'm so nervous I don't know what to do.

Well, I know just how you feel.

I was that way before my first concert.

Are you a concert musician?

How long did it take you to get over being nervous?

When was your first concert?

About two years from now, I hope.

Oh. Ha ha!

Ha ha ha!

No, I'm just a song-plugger here at Remick's.

Pick out something you like, and I'll play it for you.

[Playing piano]

Oh, here's one I know.

This one.

What, again?

Do you know it?

I knew it before it was written.

Ahem.

♪ There are smiles that make us happy ♪

♪ There are smiles that make us blue ♪

♪ There are smiles that steal away the teardrops ♪

♪ As the sunbeams steal away the dew ♪ Wait a minute. This song isn't for you.

You've got a voice.

You're wonderful. I never sang like that before.

I've got ideas that are different.

When I once get started, nothing will ever stop me.

[Playing piano]

That sounds a little stuck-up, doesn't it?

No. I don't think so. I think you really are different.

Here. Here, let's try this song.

It's something I wrote.

Your own?

♪ Swanee ♪

♪ How I love you, how I love you ♪ Let's try it in that tempo.

I'll try.

♪ Swanee ♪

♪ How I love you, how I love you ♪ No, no, no, no, no, no. More like this.

♪ How I love you, how I love you ♪

♪ My dear old Swanee ♪ You see?

Oh, I see what you mean.

Okay, let's try it together.

♪ Swanee ♪

♪ How I love you, how I love you ♪

♪ My dear old Swanee ♪ That's it.

♪ I'd give the world to be ♪

♪ Among the folks in... ♪

♪ D-i-x-i-e ♪

♪ Even now my mammy's ♪

♪ Waiting for me, praying for me ♪

♪ Down by the Swanee ♪

♪ The folks up north will see me no more ♪

♪ When I go-- ♪ You can go.

Didn't I tell you to lay off your own songs?

But, Mr. Kast--

Don't give me any excuses.

I've had just about enough of you, Gershwin.

And I'm tired of playing the same old songs day in and day out.

Oh, you are?! Yeah.

From now on, you won't have to play them. You're fired!

Get out, and don't let me find you around here when I get back.

[Men singing]

A lot he knows about music.

Oh, I'm sorry. I'm afraid it was my fault.

It was nothing. It was bound to come.

He doesn't appreciate me or my music, either.

Now you're out of a job.

Oh, don't worry about me.

I come from a family that's moved 16 times in 10 years.

I'm used to changes.

Anyway, I'm sorry, and I loved your song.

Thanks.

Well, bye.

Uh, goodbye, miss, uh...

Oh, my name is Julie Adams, and I live at the studio art club.

My name is George Gershwin, and I live in the Bronx.

Here--since this is the last day.

Thank you.

Well, goodbye.

Goodbye. Wait a minute!

Here. It's on the house.

Why, thank you, Mr. Gershwin.

That's alright.

Well, goodbye.

Goodbye, miss Adams.

Mr. Kast, please.

Gershwin, didn't I tell you I--

Mr. Kast, I thought you'd like to hear it just once more.

♪ Swanee ♪

♪ How I love you, how I love you ♪

♪ Da da da, da da ♪

Now, Morris, what kind of a career is music?

For pleasure, yes. For business, no.

Such a habit-- Always ripping seams.

It happens, it happens.

What are you inventing so much?

Who's inventing? I'm fixing.

Momma, don't discourage George right now.

For weeks, he's been pounding the pavements.

He's made some good contacts.

Contacts!

Listen, Rose, every man can't be Andrew Carnegie.

Musicians the world needs, too.

Whose idea was the piano?

But George will need to make a living.

Give him time. When he learns music better, he'll get good jobs. Such a mechanism.

Professor Franck says he's almost ready to study in Europe.

Who's going to send him to Europe-- you, Ira?

Your father, maybe?

Now, Morris, you listen to me.

Talk to George. Tell him he should be learning a dependable business.

Look, Ira. At last I've got it down in ink.

George.

Rose.

Shh. George, I think your father wants to talk to you.

What's up?

What is it, poppa?

Uh, Georgie, sit down, sit down.

Such a mechanism. It's all mixed up.

What's the matter?

Uh, I don't just know how to say it.

About getting a job.

Well, something like that. You see, Georgie, your mother thinks you ought to have some kind of regular work--that is, besides your music.

But, poppa, if he quits his music now, he might never get back to it.

Is that so bad? Well, don't you see?

But music means more than anything in the world, poppa.

That's all I was waiting to hear.

Just wait till they hear this tune.

I'll take it to harms the publisher.

Irving Caesar wrote the words.

Caesar?

[Both talking at once]

[Quietly] Not so loud. With all due respect.

If business gets better, maybe we canpay George's way to Europe.

I wouldn't mention that to your mother right now.

Oh, this one they'll print. Just wait and see.

Oh, what a beautiful manuscript.

Look, poppa.

Oh. Ha ha!

How neat you write it, Georgie.

Such black ink.

Such a fine, ambitious boy.

And Ira, too.

Ha ha ha!

And tell Max I've only got 10 more minutes, but I can stretch it.

I'll remind Mr. Dreyfus that you're here.

That's what I meant.

You're fresh.

Unfortunately, you're not.

[Whistling]

[Door closes]

How long have you known Mr. Dreyfus? What's he like?

Never met him in my life.

Hmm.

But you just called him by his first name.

It's better than swearing.

In this town, if you don't call a man by his first name, he doesn't publish your music.

They don't publish mine anyway, but it's still a good theory.

[Quietly] ♪ Bum bum bump ♪ Hmm. Diminished ninth.

If I had your talent, I'd be a pretty obnoxious fella.

What do you call yourself?

George Gershwin. It's my real name.

Mine's Oscar Levant.

I'm thinking of changing it.

Do you mind?

[Door opens]

Mr. Dreyfus will see you now.

It's about time. I knew he'd come my way.

Not you. Mr. Gershwin.

Thanks for your advice, Levant.

Hey, George! Tell Max I saw you first.

I will.

Are you still here?

How would you like to sponsor me through college?

Fresh.

You loathe me, don't you?

[Whistles]

[Humming Swanee]

Mr. Dreyfus, sir, may I please make a correction?

It's more like this. May I?

♪ Dada da da, dada da da ♪ Oh.

♪ Dada da da, dada da da, doo ♪ Yeah, it has bounce--

A diminished ninth, too.

Little unusual for popular music, isn't it?

Oh, I guess it is, Mr. Dreyfus, but that's the way I hear it in my mind.

Oh, you hear it in your mind, do you?

Yes, sir. We got to have something different.

Something different, eh?

Huh. Have a cigar?

No, thanks. I don't smoke yet.

It might hurt my wind.

Huh? Oh, well, you don't know what you're missing, especially if you're going to be a musician.

Now, watch.

There's your whole note.

Those are half notes.

Now, if you could learn to do that, Mr. Gershwin, you could compose without a pencil.

You're making fun of me. Oh, heaven forbid.

I'm just trying to get acquainted.

Well--well, how do you like my music?

Well, how do you like it?

Me? yes, you.

But I wrote it. Of course I like it!

Don't say "of course."

I've written plenty I don't like at all.

What about other music?

Who tickles your palate most?

What kind of music?

Oh, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Berlin, Jerry Kern--

I like them all, Mr. Dreyfus, especially Kern.

Kern, eh?

You know, I think we're going to get on very well, Mr. Gershwin.

How would you like a two-year contract--

Say, at, uh, $30 a week?

Are you joking?

Well, make it 35.

You mean you'd pay me to write my own songs?

Well, that's all it's-- Oh. Ha ha!

Why not? Let's start with this one.

Play it for me, young man.

Yes, sir. I'd be glad to.

[Playing Swanee]


Winter garden-- backstage.

[Ring]

[Ring]

Hello.

Say, wait a minute. What is this?

[Gershwin playing Swanee]

Yeah, I know it's Max Dreyfus, but who is that guy plunking the piano?

Gershwin.

Gershwin. Never heard of him.

Say...

That ain't a bad ditty.

George.

Who wrote it?

Wait a minute.

Max, it's me-- Joley--talking.

Who wrote it?

I did.

Mr. Jolson! Thanks.

You don't think it's too far off the beaten path, do you, Al?

Max, look, send that song over to me, and I guarantee I'll make them beat a path to it a mile long.

Thanks, Al.

So long, kid.


Ready, Mr. Jolson.

Why, Mr. Gershwin! Oh, I'm Julie-- Julie Adams.

Remember at Remick's when you lost your job?

Oh, yes. I see you're working at last.

In the chorus, but I’m understudying a part.

You'll get parts if I have to write them for you.

I knew it was your song.

Good luck.

Thanks.

Well, George, you'll know in a minute.

[Applause]

♪ I been away from you a long time ♪

♪ I never thought I'd miss you so ♪

♪ Somehow I feel your love is real ♪

♪ Near you I wanna be ♪

♪ The birds are singing, it is song time ♪

♪ The banjo's strumming soft and low ♪

♪ I know that you yearn for me, too ♪

♪ Swanee, you're calling me ♪

♪ Swanee ♪

♪ How I love you, how I love you ♪

♪ My dear old Swanee ♪

♪ I'd give the world to be ♪

♪ Among the folks in d-i-x-i ♪

♪ Even now my mammy's ♪

♪ Waiting for me, praying for me ♪

♪ Down by the Swanee ♪

♪ The folks up north won't see me no more ♪

♪ When I get to that Swanee shore ♪

[Making bird calls]

♪ I love the old folks at home ♪

♪ Uh-huh, huh ♪

♪ Swanee ♪

♪ How I love you, how I love you ♪

♪ My dear old Swanee ♪

♪ I'd give the world to be ♪

♪ Among the folks in d-i-x-i ♪

♪ Even now my mammy's ♪

♪ Waiting for me, praying for me ♪

♪ Down by the Swanee ♪

♪ The folks up north won't see me no more ♪

♪ When I get to that Swanee shore ♪

[Applause]

You should be happy, Rose.

I am happy.

That was great, Al.

Thanks. Listen, kid, write more songs like that, and your name will be up in electric lights.

Thanks, Al. Now I'll do some still better than that.

[Cheering]

Jolson: ♪ The folks up north won't see me no more ♪

♪ When I get to that Swanee shore ♪ And on the other side there's another Gershwin tune.

Hits. Hits. All I hear from you lately is hits.

You are becoming just a merchant, Mr. Gershwin.

The public likes my stuff.

Evidently. You have new clothes, hand-painted cravat.

But is your work the best? As good as you can do?

Of course not, yet.

Or are you just making a fortune?

What's wrong with a fortune if it helps me get on?

Come here, my boy.

Look.

This is Franz Schubert.

He was a songwriter, too.

He died young, at 32.

For years, he wore the same old faded necktie.

But in the land that nurtured him, he was a voice that will never be silenced.

Here, Richard Wagner.

At rehearsals of his great opera Rienzi, Richard Wagner hid in the wings while the singers ate their luncheon.

He didn't have a lunch--

Just dreams of the music of the future.

Beethoven.

He never asked himself, "is this a hit?"

He said, "this is the way it must be done."

In time, I'll write the way I feel.

But you see, with the money I'm making now, I'll have my chance to do the things I want--

The things you want.

And you couldn't go to Europe now?

Right now...

Right now, I've got the chance to write the music for an entire new show, from beginning to end.

And then what, George?

Back to your hits?

You can trust me, professor Franck.

I know what you mean.

Eh? You see that?

That wasn't a hit at first.

It is a manuscript of Johannes Brahms.

You knew him?

Yes. He gave it to me in Vienna.

Once, I hoped to reach his greatness, but one pupil like you makes up for a lifetime of disappointments.

Professor Franck...

You overestimate my future.

Oh, I have such hopes for you, my boy.

America's a growing country, a mixture of things very old with more that is new.

Your nature has the same contradictions--

The lamb and the wolf, ideals and material ambition.

If you can make them both serve, George, you can give America her voice.

Well, what are we waiting for?

Who is bidding?

Such a hand. Morris, what a dealer you are.

I trade you even.

Don't do me any favors.

You know, Morris, it's very high-class.

The furniture? All grand rapids.

Business must be good at a stationery store.

It couldn't be worse, Mr. Katzman.

I'm thinking of getting myself a Turkish bath.

Oh, not for pleasure. For business.

Now there's a gold mine for you.

It couldn't be George's music that pays for such a high-tone apartment and all these nice things?

And why not, Mr. Million?

His songs are selling like hot corns, and always new ones coming. Listen.

[Piano playing]

You hear that? George is in the act of composition.

Composition?

Sure. Counterpoint.

Counterpoint.

Oh.

A song is being born.

Excuse me.

[Morris whistling tune]

That help you, Georgie?

Thanks, pop.

Don't mention it. It's all in the family.

Boys, that song is for a new singer he found.

Some tea, somebody?

No, thanks.

Ah, such a fine girl.

Who is she?

Her name is Julie Adams.

George is writing the music for a show?

Yeah. Musical show.

What's it called?

Half past eight.

Why half past eight?

Because the curtain goes up a quarter to 9:00.

Ha ha ha!


♪ S'wonderful ♪

♪ S'marvelous ♪

♪ You should care for me ♪

♪ Oh, it's wonderful ♪

♪ It's marvelous ♪

♪ That you should care for me ♪

♪ Only me ♪

♪ Oh, wonderful ♪

[Applause]

You were swell, Julie. Swell.

If anything could save us, you could.

Do you really think I'm improving, George?

You were wonderful.

Music is alright, but the show will never be a hit.

Through, ain't you?

Through, bud? Ain't no floor show here, you know.

Not even a mention of the music.

When they don't like a show, they don't look for anything good in it.

Why take it to heart?

It's my nature to take things to heart.

Drink your coffee, George, before it gets cold.

After all, I was in the show, and I don't take it personally.

You were the only good thing in the show.

Do you mean that, George?

Of course I mean it.

I guess I'd come a lot farther than Hartford to hear you say that.

Who am I?

You taught me how to put over a song.

You've given me my first real part.

What if this show is a flop? We'll do others.

I haven't got time for flops.

No time for flops.

George, what on earth are you in such a rush about?

I want to learn everything about music.

I've got to have time to study, and look at me.

6 months wasted on a flop.

You poor kid.

Oh, no, I don't mean it that way.

Not because you had a little setback. That isn't important.

But because you drive yourself so hard.

George, are you going to do that all the rest of your life?

Until I prove what I can do.

What's the matter, Julie?

Nothing.

Oh, yes, there is.

I just get a little frightened when you talk like that.

I'm afraid you'll burn yourself out.

Don't worry about me.

See that? The longest life line you ever saw.

Ha ha ha!

[Humming]

Mr. Gershwin, have you got somebody who can beat me with a switch?

I'm sorry. We'll have more help next week.

[Telephone ringing]

Oh, excuse me.

But my doctor told me for my rheumatism, I got to perspire.

Next week. And come early.

♪ Sweet, sweet, sweetie ♪ Hello? Hello, Saul.

No. Poppa gave up the stationery store.

It's a Turkish bath now.

Oh, business is pretty good ever since George brings his friends in.

Yeah, okay. I'll tell pop.

♪ Hmm hmm hmm hmm ♪ Oh, hello, Ira.

Hi, George. Mr. Dreyfus and a friend of his are in the steam room.

They should be about cooked.

Say, what are you doing?

Oh, just sort of studying the way words and music fit together.

You mean, you're writing something.

Oh, just some jingles.

I'll tell you if they're ever any good.

You mean you write lyrics!

Why, Ira, that's swell.

That's what I'd like to do, sometime.

I'm awfully glad, Ira.

George: Oh, Mr. Dreyfus? Hello.

Where are you?

Here, up in cloud 9.

I can't see you.

Here.

Oh. Oh! Ha ha!

George, meet George.

Hiya, George. Hello, George.

His last name is white.

I like some of your songs. That's what brought me here.

Otherwise, I never take a bath.

They're far from my best stuff yet.

You know, that's what I like about Gershwin.

He's so modest.

What was I saying?

You were saying that you're good and getting better.

Well, I am.

Here's a chance to prove how good you are.

Tell him, George.

I'm doing a new show. I'm going to call it the scandals.

I intend to do a new edition every year.

He wants you to do the music.

Thanks, but... to be perfectly frank, Mr. White, before I take the job, I want to be sure the show's got a chance.

You see, I can't afford to waste 6 months on another flop.

I haven't the time.

Time?

I mean, I've got to get on with my career.

He's almost 21, and he hasn't played Carnegie hall yet.

This is going to be the swellest show the town ever saw--

The most gorgeous scenery and the most beautiful girls ever born.

It'll have the best of everything.

You'll have a chance to spread yourself, top anything you've ever done.

George, here's your opportunity.

The music's up to you.

Man: Get your copies here!

Here you are, folks. Hit of the show.

Somebody loves me, sung by Julie Adams and Tom Patricola.

Get your copies here, folks.


♪ Somebody loves me ♪

♪ I wonder who ♪

♪ I wonder who she can be ♪

♪ Somebody loves me ♪

♪ I wish I knew ♪

♪ Who can she be? ♪

♪ Worries me ♪

♪ For every girl who passes me ♪

♪ I shout ♪

[Whistles]

♪ Maybe ♪

♪ Yeah, she was meant to be ♪

♪ Your lovin' baby ♪

♪ Somebody loves me ♪

♪ I wonder who ♪

♪ Maybe it's you ♪


♪ Somebody loves me ♪

♪ I wonder who ♪

♪ Maybe it's you ♪


[Applause]

4 1/2 minutes. A very important piece.

I don't care what anybody thinks.

I liked your songs, George.

Everybody liked them, didn't they, buddy?

When they sell a million copies, then I'll know they like them.

What if they only sell 900,000?

You sound like a big executive, de Sylva.

Oh, Max.

Excuse me.

Max, I want to thank you.

You started the ball rolling for me.

You've hit your stride, my boy. Now stick to it.

You can do a lot for musical comedy.

And it can do a lot for you, too.

♪ I'll build a stairway to paradise ♪

♪ With a new step every day ♪

♪ I'm going to get there at any price ♪

♪ Stand aside, I'm on my way ♪


♪ I'm just a lonesome babe in the wood ♪

♪ So, lady, be good to me ♪

[Applause]

What a girl.

Don't tell me that kiss is far from your best work.

I've just had a brand-new idea.

A blues song for next year...

Dreyfus: Alright, George. I'll tell them.

Sure, I agree with you.

Harlem. Dame shoots a guy.

That's not for the scandals.

Alright. Goodbye.

Well, boys, white says the number's out.

But why? It's dramatic.

You don't go for that stuff, do you, Paul?

You're still in your right mind?

I don't know. I may be kind of batty but this looks mighty good to me.

Why, it's as blue as blue Monday.

Hey, that's a good title.

Not bad. Blue Monday blues.

Let's go down on the stage and run it through.

I'm with you, boss.

Let's hear it with the orchestra.


♪ I must admit, although I don't like Sunday ♪

♪ I have a fit when I go through blue Monday ♪

♪ Monday's the one day that my dice lose ♪

♪ They just refuse ♪

♪ That's when my cares are always bigger ♪ Chorus: ♪ His cares are always bigger ♪

♪ I've got those blue Monday blues ♪

Good evening, vi.

Good evening, all.

Hi, vi. Hi, vi.

♪ Has one of you seen Joe, my Joe? ♪

♪ For I have a date with him here ♪

♪ It couldn't be that I have missed him ♪

♪ I am a little early for him ♪

♪ Maybe ♪

♪ Has one of you seen Joe? ♪

♪ My lovin' man ♪

♪ My Joe ♪

♪ That's when a gal will pull a trigger ♪

♪ A gal will pull a trigger ♪

♪ I've got those blue Monday blues ♪

♪ I love but you, my Joe, my Joe ♪

♪ I don't want a thing, dear, but you ♪

♪ But after all, I'm only human ♪

♪ And I'm a mighty jealous woman ♪

♪ Honey ♪

♪ Still, just as long as you're true ♪

♪ I'll live for no one ♪

♪ But you ♪


"Hurry home, Joe. Mother has died. Sis."

Gershwin must have lost his mind.

It's great stuff, George.

Don't worry about it.

♪ I'm gonna see my mother ♪

♪ Mother mine ♪

♪ Lord, how I've missed my mother ♪

♪ Mother mine ♪

♪ Maybe I'm a very worthless fellow ♪

♪ But my weary heart will cease to pine ♪

♪ When in her arms, I'll whisper ♪

♪ I am home again, mother mine ♪

[Applause]

Mike, you can let the boys know if there's any change in the rehearsal call.

Okay, Paul. Goodnight.

Goodnight, boys.

Why can't we at least wait until you hear what the critics have to say?

Gives me the creeps.

George, it's great, but it doesn't belong in this kind of a show.

The blues are out. That's final.

Oh, professor Franck.

How did you like the blues number?

Well--

I'm so anxious to hear what you have to say.

That one number was worth more than all the rest of the show put together.

Good.

It was crude, yes, but it was original and honest.

Well, if you liked it, I'm satisfied.

But the audience didn't entirely understand it.

Paul, I'm worried about George.

This'll hit him pretty hard.

The number was really wonderful.

All we've got to do is get the public blues-conscious.

He's sold on the blues. He won't give them up for anybody.

He knows what he wants, Paul.

He'll go on.

We'll go on. The blues will go on.

Oh, George? George?

Not you, Crapehanger. I mean the music man.

Oh, Paul, I want you to meet my teacher.

Professor Franck, Paul Whiteman.

You must be very proud of your young pupil.

He's just crawling with talent.

Yeah. Ha! Crawling.

Do you know what I think I'll do?

What, Paul? Go back to the Palais Royal?

No. I think I'm going to give a jazz concert smack-dab in aeolian hall.

I'm going to make a lady out of jazz.

The blue Monday blues in aeolian hall?

Better than that.

George, I want you to write a serious concert piece based on the blues.

A serious piece that's blue, too?

Blue themes and jazz rhythms?

Of course.

You'll lose your shirt, Whiteman.

Those highbrows will laugh you right out of aeolian hall.

A rhapsody in blue.

And you talk about not wasting time. You're throwing it away.

Professor Franck, I'm giving a little party for George and a few friends tonight at a speakeasy. Will you join us?

A place where you can get real beer.

Real beer? Sure.

You invite me to break the law?

Sure.

Well, perhaps tonight, we should celebrate.

Come.

We break the law.

Practically broke.

Goodnight, Paul.

Let's drink a toast to Max Dreyfus, our host, discoverer and friend of those who compose our best musical shows. Here goes.

It rhymes.

Ira, you're a poet.

The poet laureate of Tony's spaghetti.

Another genius in the family.

You Gershwin ought to form a union.

Ira's good. He's going to write the lyrics for my next show.

Next show? What next show, George?

I suppose, professor Franck, you've decided he's not to write any more shows.

I do not decide such things.

But that's what you want.

You'd like him to throw away his success and starve in a Greenwich village garret.

The rents are pretty high down there.

A man has to do what he feels. You see--

George, the old men have the floor.

George--

Stop buzzing in his ear, will you?

George has started a career you find only in storybooks.

What have you to offer in its place?

Poverty? Privation? Sacrifice?

And I suppose after 20 years, if he should go to Europe, he might write a sonata for harp and flute.

[Toot toot toot]

Then this charge is a fair one.

What do you want of me?

I want you to talk sense to him.

You have an influence.

Yeah, but you have a contract.

George is an American.

He writes of America for America.

That's the way it should be.

And do you think America is one big business deal?

Why shouldn't George plant seeds for the future?

He shouldn't cut down trees for lumber.

Because this boy has a gift, he could be a great voice in his country.

He's from the people.

He will write American music, yes.

But great American music, not just little tunes that jingle like coins in your pocket.

Tell me, what would be wrong if the boy should be a Victor Herbert?

Nothing. It's wonderful to be a Victor Herbert.

Well, then...

Ahh. But if you have the talent to be a Schubert or a Brahms or a Beethoven--

Wherever I go, there's always a fight.

I wonder why.

Oh, you mustn't get excited, you two.

This is something George will have to decide for himself.

Julie, darling, if George listens to the voice within himself, I'm not afraid for what will happen.

Hmm?

You will excuse me, please.

I am an old man, and it is past my bedtime.

Goodnight.

Goodnight.goodnight.

Goodnight, George.

Waiter?

Yes, sir?

What's the rap?

Mr. Dreyfus, how do you spell your name, with one "S" or two?

Why did I ever get myself mixed up with this?

There goes Walter Damrosch. Yeah.

That's Rachmaninoff getting out of the cab.

There's Jascha Heifetz.

Hello, Jascha.

He's a nice fellow.

That's Otto Kahn.

Stop, Oscar. I don't want to hear any more.

What are you so nervous about?

They're all friends of mine.

Come on.

Well, I'm next.

Not like the scandals, eh, George?

Brr. Boys, what's the temperature outside?

Exactly zero.

6 to an even that audience is 10 degrees colder.

I'm not saying a word.

Well, George, it's up to you.

What are you so nervous about?

You'd better be good. This means a lot to me.

Shall we go?

Come on, Oscar. Let's go out front.

Why don't you wish me luck?

[Applause]


[Orchestra begins playing rhapsody in blue]


[Rhapsody in blue continues]


[Rhapsody in blue continues]


[Applause]

14 minutes and 5...

A very important piece.

[Cheering and whistling]


If only professor Franck had been there.

He tried to come, George. He just wasn't up to it.

What's taking Ira so long with those reviews?

He's slower than a freight train.

He is not.

What do you know about Ira?

Well, I think I know him as well as you do.

Nonsense. I'm his brother.

Nonsense. I'm engaged to him.

What?

You seem to be the slow one, George.

We're getting married next month. Aren't we, Ira?

Uh-huh. The reviews are wonderful!

Yes. He never told me a word.

What's this about you and Lee getting married?

We're very fond of each other.

Powerful words, brother.

Listen to this.

It's a big step, Lee, an enormous step.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against it. It's just that--

"the rhapsody in blue is a very stimulating piece..."

There's always been the 4 of us--

Poppa, momma, Ira, and me...

"...daring Harmony and dynamic composition."

What's that?

The times, they like it.

"In fact, Mr. Gershwin may be leading the way

"to a new and significant form of musical expression that is typically American, combining the elements of jazz with--"

Mr. Gillman says, "shows daring and ingenuity, the trail of an adventurous spirit."

Listen to this!

Damrosch wants you to write a concerto for full orchestra!

Walter damrosch? Of the New York symphony?

Mm-hmm.

George, don't let him turn your head.

A concerto?

What do I know about concertos?

You see, Max, I'm not equipped.

There's too much I don't understand.

I'm going to pass up the scandals, max.

Ira, please see Julie home.

Sure, George.

I've got to see professor Franck and tell him I'm going abroad.

I think it's wonderful, you two, just wonderful.

Oh...

Thanks.

Ira?

Yes?

Promise me something.

Hmm?

Don't you ever be a genius.

[Rings doorbell]

Man: Hello?

Hello, Nielson.

Oh, Mr. Gershwin.

He won't answer.

Is he asleep?

He's dead.

What did you say?

It happened 2 or 3 hours ago.

They sent for the doctor...

And when he came...

It was too late.

Wait... One minute, please.

He told me to give you this manuscript of Brahms'.

He said you would like to have it.

Thank you.

Oh, Mr. Gershwin, he was so fond of you.


[Woman singing the man I love in French]


Extraordinaire.

[Speaking French]

[Speaking French]

It's a fascinating song.

Who wrote it?

A countryman of yours.

♪ Just meant for two ♪

♪ From which I'll never roam ♪

♪ Who would? Would you? ♪

♪ And so, all else above ♪

♪ I'm waiting for the man ♪

♪ I love ♪

[Applause and cheering]

Bravo! Bravo!

Messieurs et mesdames, ce n'est pas moi qui merite vos applaudissements.

C'est le compositeur qui est ici ce soir--

Monsieur George Gershwin.

[Applause and cheering]

Welcome to Paris, Mr. Gershwin.

And now, in your honor...

♪ Clap-a yo' hands ♪

♪ Slap-a yo' thighs ♪

♪ Fascinating rhythm, you got me on the go ♪

♪ Fascinating rhythm, I'm all a-quiver ♪

♪ Fascinating rhythm, the neighbors wanna know ♪

♪ Fascinating rhythm, why I'm a-shiver ♪

♪ Oh, how I long to be the gal I used to be ♪

♪ Fascinating rhythm ♪

♪ Fascinating rhythm ♪ Who did you say it was?

You mean to say you've never heard of George Gershwin?

Why, his music's all the rage just now.

His songs, his rhapsody, what we call the "hot jazz."

You're getting out of touch, Christine.

I really must go back to America sometime.

Why not ask Gershwin to join us?

Wherever he goes, America goes with him.

It'll save you an expensive trip, darling.

[Speaking French]

Excuse me, please.

[Playing I got rhythm]

Let me introduce Mr. Gershwin.

How do you do?

Mrs. Gilbert.

How do you do?

Good evening.

Singer: ♪ oh, I don't mind him ♪

♪ You'll never find him ♪

♪ Hanging around my door ♪

♪ I've got rhythm ♪

♪ I've got music ♪

♪ I've got my man ♪

♪ Who could ask for anything more? ♪

♪ Who could ask for anything more? ♪

[Applause]

How is it, Mr. Gerswhin, that you are so young?

After the dozens of songs that you have written and your rhapsody, they expect you to be at least 40, with a mustache, very respectable, surrounded by a large retinue.

Well, I'm afraid I don't live up.

♪ Doolee doodlee doo ♪

♪ There's no land so grand as my land ♪

♪ From California to Manhattan isle ♪ Like my music?

Very much, what I've heard of it.

I wrote this in 1922. You ought to know my later stuff.

How is it you don't?

Perhaps I've been in Europe too long.

Oh, is your husband in Paris?

No.

Excuse me.

They called you Mrs. Gilbert.

I divorced Gilbert before you wrote this tune--in 1921.

You see, I'm slightly older than you are.

That's ideal.

♪ I'll say "I love you" ♪

♪ Make me lose those Yankee doodle blues ♪

♪ Um doo-doodle Yankee doodle ♪

♪ That melody... ♪ You dance very well.

Let's dance again tomorrow afternoon, if you're not busy.

I'm sorry. I'm going to see a show--an opening.

Do they open in the afternoon in this town?

Why, certainly.

Are you going alone?

No. I'm going with some friends.

Oh. Where is this show?

At the club chouette.

It isn't sold out, I hope.

Oh, almost nothing's sold.

I'll see you there.

You won't be hard to find in any crowd.

Madame de breteuil.

[Speaking French]

Well, how do you do?

How are you?

Is there a theater around here somewhere?

Both: Theater?

No, monsieur, there's no theater.

There must be some mistake.

Christine--that is, Mrs. Gilbert-- said something about a show.

Show?

Oh, an exhibit.

There it is.

How silly of me.

Ha ha ha!

Merci.

Merci.

Uh, merci.

[Speaking French]

I think his portrait of William G.

Is an excellent representation of cubistic form.

Of course, it's purely experimental.

Oh, there she is.

Oui, madame Gilbert but may I show you number 12?

Uh, pardon.

[Man speaking French]

William G.?

Christine, do I show any progress?

Unquestionably.

I like the portrait best.

Poor old William.

You have caught his sense of humor.

[Both laughing]

Yes. He was a most agreeable model.

Carl, you know I--

Why, Mr. Gershwin, you're here.

Christine, my dear, where are your paintings, your beautiful landscapes?

I saw them here only last week.

In the back room with their faces to the wall.

I should never have let Pierre hang them. I'm not ready yet.

Imagine, a modest American!

Ha ha ha!

You didn't tell me you were a painter.

You didn't ask me.

[Speaking French]

Monsieur ravel, monsieur Gershwin.

Ravel.

Won't you join us, please?

Your bolero.

Monsieur ravel, how much I'd like to study with you.

If you study with me, you will only write second-rate ravel instead of first-rate Gershwin.

Pardon. There's so much I'd like to say to this brilliant American.

Certainly.

You won't object if I just sit quietly and watch the leaves?

Certainly.

Tell me, how did you get the inspiration for your rhythm?

[Playing piano]


Thank you.

You're not peeved about last night?

Honestly, I forgot all about you.

I assure you, I didn't mind at all.

I wanted you to meet ravel.

More particularly, I wanted ravel to meet you.

You take me for some kind of curiosity.

That's stimulating, George.

Your interest in me is the same, you know.

Whatever I do or say, you think is exotic.

I've never thought of myself as exotic.

Takes a long time to know you, Christine.

We met two weeks ago.

I've learned a lot since then, but not about you.

Don't try, George.

Let me help you while I can.

Thank you.

Christine, I've got to tell you, when something's inside me, it has to come out.

Not one word about love.

We can talk about painting, coffee, history, society, Times Square, the champs Elysees, whatever you like, but not love.

You don't feel anything at all?

I'm not worried yet about what I feel.

It's you who must learn to keep your feelings, as you loosely call them, in control.

It's harder than learning orchestration, George...

And far more important.

I've tried to think about my concerto.

I've been meaning to take lessons in composition and theory and orchestration, but what happens? You got me in touch with ravel.

He introduced me to Honegger and Milhaud.

They like to hear my songs, and if I talk about studying, they smile and flatter me.

There's still Stravinsky.

[Knock on door]

Come in.

Good morning, George.

Good morning. What's this?

For you.

For me?

His name's tinker.

Tinker, eh?

Hello, tinker. You're a handsome little bloke.

If you have an ear for music, he'll write a show for you.

Oh, I wouldn't do that to you, fellow.

It was selfish of me to stick to my painting last night.

I'm beginning to understand that painting for you is like music for me.

If that were true, I'd be the happiest woman in the world.

I know the real thing when I see it, but I can't put it on canvas.

Maybe that's because you're too critical.

Why don't you let yourself go?

That, too, is easier for you than for me.

I think you're doing yourself an injustice.

Uh...

Oh.

I don't know much about painting--not yet.

Who told you what to buy?

I just took what hit me right.

Do you want to see the rest of them?

Yes, I'd like to.

They were sent up while I was at the theater last night.

When I get back home, I'll hang a few of them on the walls and study them.

I might even take a crack at painting some myself.

Do you think it would relax me when my stomach nerves get wound up too tight?

[Chuckles]

The night I met you, they told me you were America personified.

Well, I suppose I am.

Over here, I feel more American than I do when I'm at home.

You think that whatever you want to do, you can.

You just take everything for granted.

If you have time to look at paintings in Paris, you take along a few samples, just like that--

Whatever hits you right.

That's the American way.

But, Christine, you're American, too.

Why not come back?

Maybe that's what's wrong with your work--

You've been away too long.

Let me show you New York the way you showed me Paris.

Chris, you'll come to New York?

Would serve you right if I did.

Man: I lost all my money on the Dempsey-Tunney fight.

Liquor and parties are my only escape these days.

From what?

Myself.

Try roller-skating.

Ed, you're slipping. You'd better have another drink.

It's almost time now. I can hardly wait!

Don't think I'm calm.

Neither is Ira. He's lost all restraint.

He's been rhyming whiskey with gin all night.

Take it easy, Ira. You're under contract with me now.

Let's take a peek out of the window.

Why aren't you glowing, Oscar?

I refuse to glow for any prodigal who makes 300 grand a year.

Why don't you play something?

I haven't eaten anything.

Come on, Oscar, play something.

What would you like to hear?

How about somebody loves me?

[Begins playing piano]

There's a taxi. It's George!

Get ready, everybody!

George is coming.

Hurry, Oscar, he's coming up.

I may as well sit here while I can.

George will soon take over.

Shh. Keep quiet. I'm going to put out the lights.

Shh!

[Knock on door]

[All shouting greetings at once]

George! Welcome home!

Julie!

Max, you old scoundrel, you hatched all this up.

Ira, Lee, I want you all to meet Christine Gilbert.

Good evening.

How do you do?

Good evening.

Uh... Mrs. Gilbert has been in Europe for years.

Max: Yes, of course.

George insisted that I come.

He didn't expect such a large party.

Come in, Mrs. Gilbert.

Thank you.

Any friend of George is most welcome here.

Surprised, George?

Am I? Ira, why didn't you tell me?

They threatened me.

[Playing rhapsody in blue]

The Gershwin trademark!

[Laughter]

I see you've learned to play with both hands.

I took the Liberty of recording our rhapsody.

Yeah, I heard it, and I still like my recording.

Tell me something, George.

Good evening, Mrs. Gilbert. My name's Levant.

Tell me something. If you had it to do all over again, would you still fall in love with yourself?

[Laughter]

[George plays someone to watch over me]

[Playing medley of songs]


Wonderful!

Play do, do, do.

No. Fascinating rhythm.

Clap yo' hands.

Lady be good.

Oscar, do it again.

I can't do it again. I haven't eaten.

Man: Bidin' my time, George.

Yeah. Bidin' my time.

George: ♪ I'm bidin' my time 'cause that's the kind... ♪ Well, an evening with Gershwin is a Gershwin evening.

Whenever he sees a piano, he'll leave any girl flat.

You mustn't take offense.

George and guests: ♪ I keep busy... ♪ On the contrary... I quite understand.

You see, George is never quite so happy as when he's playing his own music for his friends.

Yes, I know.

How about a drink?

Thank you.

Tell me, how did George do in Paris?

Did he learn a lot there?

Yes, I think he did.

Did he finish his concerto?

That's what he went there for.

Concerto? Concerto?

George is going to do another musical.

Are you in show business, too, Mr. Dreyfus?

You have been in Europe a long time, haven't you, Mrs. Gilbert?

The rents are cheaper there.

Have a drink? Please.

Ice? No. Just water.

I've been trying to protect George from highbrows--

That is to say, from symphonies and concertos.

George will go his own way.

After all, there's no reason why he shouldn't write popular songs one day and symphonies the next.

Those long compositions take up a lot of valuable time.

You don't drink, do you?

Thank you.

Time seems to be scarce over here.

Not mine.

Mr. Levant, you're not so ferocious as you sound.

Don't let that get around.

You know, George has often spoken about you.

I understand you compose, too.

If it wasn't for Gershwin, I could have been a pretty good mediocre composer.

But, Julie, don't let it upset you.

I'm sure it doesn't mean a thing.

Just one of those shipboard Roman-- acquaintances.

I begin to understand now why George didn't write to me.

All the work on his concerto over there.

Concerto? Fiddlesticks.

You haven't heard the news.

He's writing a new show, for you, Julie.

Ira is doing the lyrics. What a combination.

[Finishes song]

[All talking at once]

Play embraceable you.

[All talking at once]

Let's get Julie to sing it.

Where is she?

Julie!

Max, my head is splitting. Please get me out of here.

But I can't leave my guests.

Come now, keep your chin up.

Go through with this, Julie.

George: Julie.

Julie, where have you been? We've missed you.

Everybody has been asking for you.

You must sing for us now. But, George, I can't.

I've just been telling Julie about the new show.

Ira is going to write the lyrics. Mr. Words.

Mr. Music.

Julie, we'll make this the best part you've ever had.

Just like old times, only better.

We'll all be together again.

Now, how about embraceable you?

[People all talking at once]

Can you lend me cab fare to go home?

[Playing slowly]

♪ Embrace me ♪

♪ My sweet embraceable you ♪

♪ Embrace me ♪

♪ You irreplaceable you ♪

♪ Just one look at you ♪

♪ My heart grew tipsy in me ♪

♪ You and you alone... ♪ Lee: What a wonderful welcome for George.

Mr. Host, the season has now officially started.

Thank you, Mr. Words.

♪ I love all the many charms ♪

♪ About you ♪

♪ Above all... ♪ Nice.

It's exciting to have George back.

♪ I want my arms about you ♪

♪ Don't be a naughty baby ♪

♪ Come to mama ♪

♪ Come to mama, do ♪

♪ My... sweet... ♪

[All talking at once]

Pardon me.

Christine. Do you like it?

So much that it makes me furious.

You could do much better, dear, if you'd only get started again.

Go on with your work, George.

I'll browse around the other masters.

Please do.

I, uh, I feel sort of guilty, Christine.

You don't paint anymore.

You're not happy in New York.

You're happy.

When you're around, I am.

No. You don't need anyone or anything.

Whatever you touch turns to gold.

You're busy every hour.

You have hundreds of friends who like what you like.

I'm not good for you, George.

You would be if you'd only make up your mind.

Then I'd be sure of you.

Let's not put it off any longer, darling.

George, you're the perfect bachelor.

It wouldn't do.

Don't you love me enough?

Maybe I love you too much.

That's just what I didn't want to happen.

I want you to marry me.

It'll never work, George.

We both want too much out of life.

We'll have what we want.

Tomorrow we'll get a license and look for a place.

How about a penthouse?

A penthouse built for two.

You sound like your songs, George, and you expect life to be like your music, but it isn't.

You can make up songs, but you can't make up life.

Please go on with your painting.

Alright.

You must finish it soon.

You'll wait?

You've made such a fine start, George.

You mustn't waste a minute.

The light won't hold... Much longer.

Chris--

Chris--

Chris!


[Knock on door]

George, why did you come here?

What's happened, George?

I had to see you, Julie.

You haven't felt the need for quite a while.

But, Julie--it's alright, George.

I knew I shouldn't have taken this show.

To have me around would just bother you.

You know how I've always felt about you, Julie.

I have to talk to someone.

Could it be that Mrs. Gilbert isn't available?

She's gone...

To Mexico.

Read it, Julie.

You have the wrong idea about me, George.

You think I can be put away in lavender and then be taken out as a last resort.

I don't want to read your letters.

I don't want you to cry on my shoulder.

I don't want anything at all.

I've been all mixed up, Julie.

Please try to understand.

I do understand...

Too well.

Everything I say is wrong.

Please go.

Ready, Julie?

Come in, Max.

What's wrong?

"George, dear, by the time this reaches you, I'll be on my way to Mexico."

"Perhaps I can get back to work down there.

"Anyhow, I must try.

"Your destiny moves straight ahead in fast 2-4 time.

"Mine simply goes around in a circle.

"I meant it when I said you were the ideal bachelor.

"You think of yourself first, "and that's as it should be

"because you give so much pleasure to the world.

"I was tempted for a while to spoil it all for you.

"Now I know better.

Christine."

I've done her a great injustice.

The woman has good sense--

I mean, as far as sheis concerned.

Don't spare my feelings, Max.

I know she's right, as far as anyone is concerned.

George has to go his way alone.

He must be free.

Yes, but, Julie, with you, it would be different.

No, Max. I'll never be a handicap.

The day this show closes, I'm leaving town... For good.


[Car horns honking]

[Playing same notes as car horns]

[An American in Paris playing]


[Applause]

18 minutes exactly.

[Louder applause]

[Cheering]

Mmm! Such a mechanism.

Man: Yes, yes.

Poppa, I'm seeing things in you I never saw before.

Yeah? Ha ha!

That's all, Mr. Gershwin.

You may get dressed now.

Here are the laboratory reports, doctor.

Thanks.

Well, doctor?

It's leukemia.

Leukemia?

Say, what is this fancy-sounding disease?

The white blood cells keep eating up the red ones.

And is that bad?

Very bad.

How bad is it?

Shall I be honest?

Always the best policy.

Half a year. Month or two either way.

Piece of peppermint, doctor?

Thanks.

No mistake?

No mistake.

Okay.

Ira...

When does George come home from Cuba?

He's planning a concert tour, poppa.

You know sometimes I think George is unhappy.

Success isn't enough.

I want you to take care of him, Ira.

Watch over him always.

Don't worry, poppa.

You'll do me a big favor, Ira.

Ira.

Why should George know, or momma?

Why should we worry them?

We'll keep it a secret between you and me.

Accidentally on purpose we'll forget to tell them, hmm?

A trick before high heaven.

Yes, makes the angels weep.

What's that?

Why, the rest of your quotation, Mr. Gershwin, from Shakespeare.

I spoke a quotation? Yes.

How do you like that, Ira? I spoke a quotation...

From Shakespeare.

Good-bye, doctor.

George!

Momma.

How's my poppa?

Georgie.

I think I'll have to take you to the mountains for a few weeks.

Take momma.

Are you happy, Georgie?

You're beginning to lose your hair, my boy.

I still have more than you.

You're crowding too many things.

You should take more time to be happy, Georgie.

With all due respect...

It should have been Julie.

Poppa.

Poppa!

Hmm?

People like the Cuban overture?

It gets a very good hand, poppa.

You'll hear it soon.

How long does it run, Georgie?

Exactly how long?

10 minutes, poppa.

10 minutes exactly.

10 minutes.

Good.

An important...

Piece.

Poppa.

Poppa!

Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

[Crying]

[Orchestra playing loudly]


[Piano playing]

George:♪ Mine ♪ Oscar: ♪ The point they're making in the song ♪

♪ Love is mine ♪ ♪ Is that they more mthan get along ♪

♪ Whether it's rain or storm ♪ ♪ And he is not ashamed to say ♪

♪ Or shine ♪ ♪ She made him what he is today ♪

♪ Mine ♪ ♪ It does a person good to see ♪

♪ You are mine ♪ ♪ Such happy domesticity ♪

♪ Never another ♪ ♪ The way they're making love, you'd swear ♪

♪ Valentine ♪♪ they're not a married pair ♪

♪ And I am yours ♪ ♪ He says no matter what occurs ♪

♪ Tell me that I'm yours ♪ ♪ Whatever he may have is hers ♪

♪ Show me that smile ♪ ♪ The point that she is making is ♪

♪ My heart adores ♪ ♪ Whatever she may have is his ♪

♪ Mine ♪

♪ More than divine ♪

♪ To know that love like yours ♪

♪ Is mine! ♪ ♪ Is mine ♪ If the rest of the show is as good as that song, you'll have another hit.

With a little more suffering, I could become a great singer.

We've been doing the suffering, my boy.

Now let's go home and to bed.

It's time for breakfast.

What does your father say when you come home so late?

What's the matter? You fellas quitting already?

I got a date with my insomnia.

We haven't even started yet.

What's the rush, George?

You can do all this during rehearsals.

I want to get this done and start on something new.

Oscar: How do you like the fella?

Of thee I sing just won the Pulitzer prize, he's got another show in rehearsal, and now he's talking about--

I'm not talking about another show. I want to do something else.

What is it, Georgie?

What do you want to do?

I've been thinking about an opera.

It's 4:00 in the morning, and he's thinking about an opera.

Don't you think I can do it?

Of course you can, George, but what kind of opera?

I don't know exactly.

I'd like to use a folk theme, something American if I can find it.

If anybody wants to find this penthouse beachcomber, you'll find him over at Ira’s kitchen. Come on, Ira.

Ira: Let's close up shop. We've been working all night.

Nonsense. We've got too much to do.

You can go on if you want to. I'm going home.

But we should try to--let me go home, will you?

I want to see if Lee still remembers me.

You remember Lee--my wife.

Okay, Ira. Goodnight. Tell her I said your lyrics are swell.

Thanks, Mr. Music.

Goodnight, Mr. Words.

Well, George, what is it you're trying to forget?

Forget?

Don't tell me you've turned yourself into a dynamo just for the fun of grinding out one hit after another.

Success is coming out of your ears.

Why don't you relax and just be a human being again?

I don't know what you're talking about.

I'm talking about you.

I can see a boy way down in those streets who dreamed himself a long way from the ground he started on.

Came up like an elevator.

Now he's looking for new buttons to push.

Seems to have an idea that happiness is vertical and the last stop is heaven.

Quit it, will you, Max?

I thought you'd finished your portrait.

I don't know if I'll ever get it done.

It's beginning to get on my nerves.

Every time I look at myself, I see something different.

I can't get George Gershwin to stay on the canvas.

He keeps running away from me.

I can see 4 Georges, and heaven knows how many more there are--

The man who writes hits, the man who dreams, the man who climbs the golden stairs, and maybe there's one left over for Julie.

Shut up, Max! If you're going to talk like that, get out of my house.

Max, Max.

I didn't mean that.

I don't want to hurt you. You know that.

I don't want to hurt anyone.

These headaches...

I guess you're right, Max.

Part of me is lonely.

Part of me got lost somewhere.

Maybe way down deep, I'm just a family man...

Without a family.

I'm proud of you, George.

To me, you're the voice of your generation.

I just want to see you happy.

That's why I mentioned Julie.

Goodnight.

[Orchestra playing]

♪ You're so delici-ous ♪

♪ And so caprici-ous ♪

♪ I grow ambiti-ous ♪

♪ To have you care for me ♪

♪ In that connect-ion ♪

♪ You're my select-ion ♪

♪ For true affect-ion ♪

♪ For all the time to be ♪

♪ Now, I've had 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 beaus before ♪

♪ But you're the one, the only one ♪

♪ The one Beau I adore ♪

♪ Yes, on reflect-ion ♪

♪ In that connect-ion ♪

♪ If you've no object-ion ♪

♪ To me, you're just perfect-ion ♪

♪ If you're suspici-ous ♪

♪ Why, I'm repetiti-ous ♪

♪ It's 'cause you're so ♪

♪ Delici-ous ♪

[Applause]

What on earth are you doing in Florida, George?

I was just about to ask you the same thing.

That's easy. I'm earning a living.

Why did you turn down my shows? Why, Julie?

We've been all over that once, George.

I want you to come back.

Why did you come?

To see you.

Well, that--that's very friendly, but--

Julie, don't talk like that, as if we were strangers.

I need you, Julie. I've always needed you.

That's a romantic notion, George.

You don't need anyone.

How does it feel to be sitting on top of the world?

Remember the time you had your first flop?

You were a child, but you said you didn't have time for flops.

You had too much to do.

Well, now you've done more than even you could have dreamed of then.

I'm not so sure of that.

You'd always feel that way.

That's part of your restlessness.

Maybe it's even part of your music.

I've found you can live in a penthouse, surrounded by people, and still be alone.

Poppa knew that.

The last thing he said was, "it should have been Julie."

It should have been Julie. It still can be.

I want you to come back. Please, you must.

George, please don't go on.

Oh, herb. Herb!

Yes, Julie?

George, this is herb stone, the orchestra leader.

Of course.

Herb, this is--

George Gershwin. How nice to meet you.

You see, George...

Herb and I are engaged to be married.

Julie, I--

Thank you, Mr. Gershwin.

Julie, this is a--

Congratulations.

Goodnight, Julie.

[People all talking at once]

Julie, darling, what'd you tell him that for?

I'm sorry, herb.

I had to tell him something to make him go.

George Gershwin.

And you don't love him?

I never said that.

Chorus: ♪ Summertime ♪

♪ And the livin' is easy ♪

♪ Fish are jumpin' ♪

♪ And the cotton is high ♪

♪ Oh, your daddy's rich ♪

♪ And your ma is good-lookin' ♪

♪ So hush, little baby ♪

♪ Don't you cry ♪

Bess: ♪ One of these mornin's ♪

♪ You're gonna rise up singin' ♪

♪ Then you'll spread your wings ♪

♪ And you'll take the sky ♪

♪ But till that mornin' ♪

♪ There's a-nothin' can harm you ♪

♪ With daddy and mammy ♪

♪ Standin' by ♪

All: ♪ Ahhh ♪

[Applause]

Most of the audience loved it.

Tell me the worst. What did the critics say?

Some of them said it wasn't opera.

Why wasn't it opera? Just because ordinary people liked it?

Others said it wasn't Gershwin.

After spending two of the hardest years of my life.

If that isn't Gershwin, what is?

In all the years we've been together, George, I've been right, now and then, but about porgy and Bess, I was wrong.

This time, you've done it, my boy.

You've made opera entertaining.

The nearer we get to the coast, the faster the train goes.

Speed-- how I love it.

Listen to the wheels, Ira.

Got to make time. Got to make time.

Got to make time. Got to make time.

Oscar, loudly: ♪ Folks with plenty of plenty ♪

♪ Keep their locks on the door ♪ The Porter, sir.

What critic said porgy and Bess was too highbrow?

Come in.

Yowsah, yowsah, yowsah!

I thought we lost you at Albuquerque.

I had to autograph some blankets. Here's the telegram.

From Los Angeles.

"We wish you to perform

"an all-gershwin concert

"February 10.

The Los Angeles philharmonic."

That's the chance I've been waiting for.

Play good, George, and I'll get a job in pictures.

Ha ha ha!

Goodnight, Ira.

Happy dreams, Oscar.

Think about that concert.

The difference between an upper berth and a lower berth is the difference between talent and genius.

George, thinking: Got to make time. Got to make time.

Got to make time. Got to make time.

Got to make time. Got to make time.

Got to make time. Got to make time...

[Orchestra playing]


[Plays note off-key]

[Plays note off-key]


[Plays note off-key]


[Applause]


Georgie, what is it?

What's happened?

My fingers wouldn't obey.

But you've only played it a hundred times.

And then the pain between my eyes, like a knife.

[People talking outside]

Oscar, talk to the crowd.

Hold them off until we get out.

George.

Georgie.

You're coming home with me.

Come. We'll go home.

Ira, what's happening to my boy?

Please don't worry, momma.

No, you can't talk to him now. He's resting, momma.

But it isn't right for me to be so far away when my George is ill.

Ira, I'm coming out by plane.

No, momma, please. We'll have him back in New York in a few weeks, and then we'll all be together again.

Alright. I'll call you tomorrow.

Ira...

Take care of him.

Goodnight.

Goodnight, momma.

[Piano playing]

Ira, these lyrics are wonderful.

They are good, aren't they?

They practically sing themselves.

You could use your voice, too, you know.

When George is finished playing, maybe he'll go over it with you.

[Plays note off-key]

[Plays note off-key]

[Plays note off-key]

I'm getting scared, Oscar.

I think it's a nervous breakdown.

You exaggerate, Ira.

You think so?

No, I don't.

[Plays note off-key]

Is there something I can do, Georgie?

I've just got a headache.

Maybe it's us. Maybe we get on your nerves.

It's this stabbing pain in my head.

I'm sick, that's all.

Hold my hand, Ira... Tight.

It eases the pain.

Yes, Georgie.

Your kid brother is giving you a lot of trouble, isn't he?

Let's forget all this work.

Somebody else can finish it.

6 months' rest is what you need.

I'd blow up in a thousand pieces if I didn't work for that long.

You'll blow up anyway if you don't quit for a while.

I can't help it.

Work is a compulsion. It's an obsession.

And there's so much I want to do.

What are you trying to prove, Georgie? You've already--

Don't you see, Ira?

It's only with my music that I can prove my right to live.

I must write...

And I can't even hear it inside me anymore.

[Telephone ringing]

Hello?

New York?

Just a moment, please.

George...

It's Julie.

Julie.

Talk to her, George.

Julie?

Oh, Julie.

Just your voice. I've been so lonely.

George, please let me come out.

I can't bear to be so far away when you're ill. I can take the next plane.

Meet me, darling. We mustn't waste a minute.

George, do you hear me?

Yes, darling.

You're right. I need you.

Come out here, and we'll make up for all the lost years.

Remember? I have the longest lifeline you ever saw.

Hurry, darling. Hurry.

Tinker, wake up. Wake up, tinker.

You can't sleep now. Julie is coming.

Wake up, tinker.

[Playing loudly]

Good news from Julie?

She's coming out here. George, I don't--

I'm alright. My headache is gone, and I can play.

Don't overdo it, Georgie. Take it easy, fella.

Why should I take it easy? I feel wonderful.

Now we can finish the score of the picture and get on with something else.

I'd like to try a ballet. Or maybe a string quartet. Or better yet...

I'd like to set the Gettysburg address to music.

Lee, darling, Julie is coming.

So that's it. How do you feel?

I'm hungry.

How about some food?

I'll get you some right away.

I'm hungry, too, Lee, but I got to catch a plane.

What for?

I'm broadcasting our concerto in New York.

Oscar...

Yes?

Remember, it's a very important piece.

Be sure and give our love to momma.

I will.

Lots of luck, Oscar.

Thanks.

Take care of yourself, George.

Steve, do you know the lyrics?

I've been working with Ira.

Fine. Then let's make music.

[Playing loudly]

♪ Love walked right in ♪

♪ And drove the shadows away ♪

♪ Love walked right in ♪

♪ And brought my sunniest day ♪

♪ One magic moment ♪

♪ And my heart seemed to know ♪

♪ That love said hello ♪

♪ Though not a word was spoken ♪

♪ One look, and I forgot the gloom of the past ♪

♪ One look, and I had found my future at last ♪

♪ One look, and I had found a world ♪

♪ Completely new ♪

♪ When love walked in ♪

♪ With you ♪ George! George!

[Orchestra playing loudly]


[Music stops]

This is Walter Damrosch speaking.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have interrupted the concerto to tell you that its composer, George gershwin, has just passed away in California.

[Audience murmuring]

We will continue the concerto in F.

[Orchestra playing]


[Applause]

Man: George gershwin will live as long as there is joy, as long as there is music in the world.

He was a lucky young man, lucky to be so in love with the world and because the world was so in love with him.

He had the happy faculty of enjoying all his talents, and through them, he gave voice to the America he knew and loved so well.

We rejoice that through his imperishable harmonies, George gershwin will forever sing to us.

We weep that in passing, he left so many songs unsung.

And now the orchestra, with Mr. Paul Whiteman conducting, will play the rhapsody in blue.

At the piano, George's friend, Mr. Oscar Levant.

[Applause]

[Playing rhapsody in blue]