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The Glenn Miller Story

(1954 c 115')

En: 6 Ed: 6

A trombonist wants to arrange music for his own band and marries a sweetheart from his youth who helps him save money and get a band going that develops a new and popular swing sound.

         Glenn Miller (James Stewart) redeems his trombone from a pawn shop and works on arrangements. He calls Helen Berger (June Allyson) in Colorado and shows up very late at night. He gives her a necklace, but she says she is engaged. He takes her to meet his parents. Glenn tells her that he is going to have his own band, and he travels with Ben Pollack’s band.

         Glenn leaves the band and his friend Chummy MacGregor (Harry Morgan) in New York. After two difficult years Don Haynes (Charles Drake) gets Glenn a job in a good band. Glenn calls Helen and asks her to come to New York and marry him. The day she arrives he marries her. His friends take them to Harlem to hear Louis Armstrong, and Gene Krupa plays the drums.

         Helen suggests that Glenn study with Dr. Schillinger again, and they move into an apartment to save money. Glenn writes “Moonlight Serenade,” but he does not like the way a chorus girl sings it.

         Helen has saved $1,842 for Glenn to start a band with Don and Chummy. Helen keeps accounts, and after a year Don gets them a booking in Boston; but Chummy’s car breaks down in the snow. Helen loses a baby but survives. Chummy sells his car to pay off the band. Si Schribman (George Tobias) visits Helen and offers to invest in the band.

         Si gives Glenn cash, and he rehearses a new band. Glenn replaces an injured trumpet player with clarinet by writing new arrangements. People dance and like the new sound. Glenn Miller’s band music becomes very successful, and he gives Helen a pearl necklace.

         After ten years of marriage Glenn gets a big house, and they adopt a second child. The band plays “Pennsylvania 6-5000” as Glenn and Helen dance. The band records music for a movie. Glen tells Helen that he will be a captain in the Army, and he leads a band. They play a new arrangement for General Hap Arnold (Barton MacLane). Glenn is reprimanded for lack of discipline; but Arnold commends him, and Glenn asks for his own band.

         Glenn says goodbye to Helen and leaves on a plane. Glenn’s band plays “In the Mood” on BBC. The Modernaires and Frances Langford sing “Chattanooga Choochoo.”

         The Allies invade Europe and move into Paris. Helen shares a letter from Glenn with Chummy and Si. Glenn boards a small plane for Paris that is lost. General Arnold calls Helen. Chummy tells her that Glenn’s band will go on. They listen to the Paris broadcast, and she cries. She hears her favorite song, “The Little Brown Jug.”

         This musical bio-pic tells the true story of the swing band leader as a pleasant romance without focusing on the personal conflicts he had with other musicians.

Copyright © 2009 by Sanderson Beck

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