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Round Midnight

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Product Overview

Inside the Blue Note nightclub one night in 1959 Paris, an aged, ailing jazzman coaxes an eloquent wail from his tenor sax. Outside, a young Parisian too broke to buy a glass of wine strains to hear those notes. Soon they will form a friendship that sparks a final burst of genius in the fading musician. Round Midnight, set to Herbie Hancock's superb Academy Award-winning Best Original Score, is an elegant ode to bebop -- the technically demanding jazz that blossomed during the postwar era -- and to the expatriate black Americans who created, nurtured and lived it. Directed by Bertrand Tavernier and showcasing tenor sax great Dexter Gordon in a remarkable performance, Round Midnight is an awesome musical journey.


Studio Warner
SKU 207901813
UPC 883929003471
UPC 14 00883929003471
Format DVD
Release Date 4/27/2010
Rating Rating
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  1.85:1
Oscar (1987) Dexter Gordon, Nominee, Best Actor in a Leading Role,Herbie Hancock, Winner, Best Music, Original Score
Golden Globe (1987) Dexter Gordon, Nominee, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama,Herbie Hancock, Nominee, Best Original Score - Motion Picture
British Academy Awards (1987) Herbie Hancock, Nominee, Best Score
ReviewSource The Washington Post
Review Gordon, a legendary be-bop king, is jammed into the frame. It's like he's sitting in a little kid's chair up there, with his knees to his chest and his sax cradled like a prized, brass-plated baby. The 63-year-old colossus shambles onstage, his voice a rasp of cigarette smoke and liquor. Yet he has the dignity of a venerable Shakespearean actor...Like Mozart in "Amadeus," the jazzman is enslaved by his muse, burning too bright, up all night with the rythyms beating in his brain, his nerves vibrating like harp strings. But music is his life and his love. He is a sax maniac. "I'm tired of everything but the music," says Dale, who drinks to stop his be-bop dreams...In recent films, French director Tavernier has been observing the artist in the twilight of his career. Here, the light and color of his "Sunday in the Country," a study of an old impressionist's later days, give way to the somber shadows of the jazz musician's nighttime world. It's an incredible show of flexibility on Tavernier's part, as improvisational and exploratory as the be-bop itself. "Round" is living sound, as "Sunday" was canvas come to life...The story is written by David Rayfiel and Tavernier, and enhanced by the actors and musicians whose suggestions give it verisimilitude. Gordon goes the limit as Turner, dedicating his performance to all the cats who've gone before.
Reviewer Rita Kempley
ReviewRating 9
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review In Dexter Gordon's voice in "Round Midnight," there is a quality that at first sounds like a great weariness. As I listened more carefully, however, I realized that there were other notes present...Here is a man (I speak of the character, not the actor) who has gone too far and seen too much, and who knows that in one way or another his death is near. Yet he is not impatient with those who still have long to live; he takes what remains of his precious time to speak carefully with them. And when he speaks of the world around him, it is with a quiet amazement that he is still there to see it...Gordon plays the central role with an eerie magnetism. He is a musician, not an actor, and yet no actor could have given this performance, with its dignity, wisdom and pain...The music was recorded live. The director, Bertrand Tavernier, has said that in earlier jazz films, the audience could sense that the actors were not really playing; that you could see in their eyes that they were not listening to the other musicians onstage with them. In "Round Midnight," the music happens as we hear it, played by Gordon, Herbie Hancock on piano and others such as Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Ron Carter and Billy Higgins, with Lonette McKee on vocals...You do not need to know a lot about jazz to appreciate what is going on because, in a certain sense, this movie teaches you everything about jazz that you really need to know.
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 10
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
Channel 4 Film One of the best jazz films ever made, this succeeds by melding French sensibilities about atmosphere with American sensibilities about the music.
Janet Maslin, The New York Times No actor could do what the great jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon does in 'Round Midnight.
Mark Bourne, DVD Journal ...a brooding yet warm elegy, as plaintive as a slow, low-toned ballad in a minor key.
Paul Attanasio, The Washington Post A lovingly gentle yet vibrant tribute to jazz, friendship and film itself, made by a director of consummate taste and precise imagination.
Variety ...a superbly crafted music world drama in which Gallic director Bertrand Tavernier pays a moving dramatic tribute to the great black musicians...

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