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The Legend of 1900 (1998)

La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano (original title)
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A baby boy, discovered in 1900 on an ocean liner, grows into a musical prodigy, never setting foot on land.

Director:

Giuseppe Tornatore

Writers:

Alessandro Baricco (monologue Novecento), Giuseppe Tornatore
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 21 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Stars: Sergio Castellitto, Tiziana Lodato, Franco Scaldati
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Roth ... Novecento
Pruitt Taylor Vince ... Max
Mélanie Thierry ... La ragazza
Bill Nunn ... Danny
Clarence Williams III ... 'Jelly Roll' Morton
Peter Vaughan ... Negoziante
Niall O'Brien Niall O'Brien ... Capo del porto
Alberto Vazquez ... Machinista messicano (as Alberto Vázquez)
Gabriele Lavia ... Contadino
John Armstead John Armstead
Cory Buck Cory Buck ... Lemon - age 8
Norman Chancer Norman Chancer ... Impresario
Sidney Cole ... Musician
Katy Monique Cuom Katy Monique Cuom
Luigi De Luca ... Neapolitan Stoker
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Storyline

1900. Danny Boodmann, a stoker on an American passenger liner, Virginian, finds a baby abandoned on the ship. He names the child Danny Boodmann T.D. Lemon Nineteen Hundred '1900' and raises the child as his own until his death in an accident on the ship. The child never leaves the ship and turns out to be a musical genius, especially when it comes to playing the piano. As an adult he befriends a trumpet player in the ship's band, Max Tooney. After several years on the ship Max leaves, and tells the story of 1900 to the owner of a music store. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ship | 1900s | piano | pianist | jazz | See All (93) »

Taglines:

An epic story of a man who could do anything... except be ordinary. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

English | French | Italian

Release Date:

28 October 1998 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

La légende du pianiste sur l'océan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$39,200, 31 October 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$259,127, 12 December 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sciarlò, Medusa Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Blu-ray)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There was actually a registered ship named the SS Virginian which was built in 1904 and scrapped around 1954. The ship had one funnel with the Allan Line's colors on it. The SS Virginian also had a vital part in the Titanic disaster in April 1912 as she was reported near the vicinity of the sinking and within radio contact. See more »

Goofs

When the passengers first see the Statue of Liberty, it is shown reflected in the sea. However, the reflection appears to be an image of the statue laid flat on the surface of the water, whereas a real reflection should appear to extend straight down below the surface. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Max: I still ask myself if I did the right thing when I abandoned his floating city. And I don't mean only for the work. The fact is, a friend like that, a real friend - you won't meet one again. If you just decide to hang up your sea legs, if you just want to feel something more solid beneath your feet - and it's then you no longer hear the music of the gods around you. But, like he used to say, you're never really done for, as long as you got a good story, and someone to tell it to. ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

Original version released in Italy is 2 hours and 45 minutes long. A 123-minutes version premiered at the Locarno film Festival in July 1999. This shorter version is the same released in the USA by Fine Line under the title "The Legend of 1900". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Seven Pounds (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Jungle Blues
Written by Ferdinand 'Jelly Roll' Morton (as Fred Morton)
Edizioni Chappell s.r.l
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A lovely film that has a heart
24 January 2005 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

On the first day of the twentieth century, an infant is discovered in the coal room aboard a luxury liner. The worker (Bill Nunn) who discovers the child on The Virginian names him 1900 or more accurately Danny Boodmann T.D. Lemon Nineteen-Hundred. Eight years later the boy loses his "father" in a ship accident but discovers an amazing ability to play the piano and a legend is born. It is indeed The Legend of 1900, a fable by Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso) based on a dramatic monologue by Italian novelist Alessandro Baricco. The story is about a musical prodigy who spends his life aboard a ship, sailing back and forth between the U.S. and Europe, entertaining the passengers with his unique talent but never sharing it with the rest of the world.

The film is narrated by Max (Pruitt Taylor Vince), an American saxophone player whom we meet at the beginning as he tries to pawn his trumpet. On leaving the shop, however, he hears the only recording 1900 ever made, a master that he had broken into pieces but that was later restored. When he finds out that the master came from a ship about to be demolished, he rushes to save 1900 whom he is sure is still aboard. In the process, he tells his story to convince others that 1900 exists. Through flashbacks we learn about 1900 and how he navigated his life from stem to stern. The question throughout the film is whether or not 1900 will abandon the ship and set foot on land? There is a hint that he might do so after he meets a beautiful young woman (Melanie Theirry). She inspires him to compose a beautifully expressive love song while gazing at her through a window, but the only thing that remains is the last copy of the record and an enduring memory.

The Legend of 1900 creates its own world and I confess it is one that I got lost in. This is a lovely film that has a heart. It is sentimental without question but is redeemed by the glorious music by Ennio Morricone, beautiful cinematography by Lajos Koltai, and a terrific jazz piano duel between the adult 1900 (Tim Roth) and Jelly Roll Morton played by Clarence Williams III. 1900's world has clearly defined limits and he is fearful of venturing beyond. Land represents for him a place without boundaries, where people can get lost, a place without beginning or end. To me, The Legend of 1900 may be a metaphor for people who find a comfortable niche for themselves in life and are afraid to take risks to see what the possibilities are. In many cases, as with 1900, the world will never know the contribution they might have made.


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