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'Round Midnight
'Round Midnight
Actors: Dexter Gordon, François Cluzet, Gabrielle Haker, Sandra Reaves-Phillips, Lonette McKee
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
R     2008     2hr 13min

Bertrand Tavernier's loving ode to jazz and its creators. Dexter Gordon captured an Academy Award (R) nomination as an expatriate musician in 1959 Paris. Herbie Hancock's superb music score won an Oscar(R).


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Movie Details

Actors: Dexter Gordon, François Cluzet, Gabrielle Haker, Sandra Reaves-Phillips, Lonette McKee
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Creators: Bruno de Keyzer, Bertrand Tavernier, Armand Psenny, Irwin Winkler, Colo Tavernier, David Rayfiel
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 07/22/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1986
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1986
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 13min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Real emotions from real characters
William E Donoghue | Healdsburg CA USA | 12/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This touching and realistic movie is quietly dedicated to jazz pianist Bud Powell and saxophonnist Lester Young (both expatiriates who lived in Paris) on whose life the character of "Dale Turner," the saxophonist, is based. The character of Dale Turner, a jazzman in his last days, is played by Dexter Gordon, a jazzman soon to die of throat cancer. Dexter Gordon, a real-life expatriot jazzman who spent much of his playing years in Denmark, deservedly received an academy award nomination for his moving portrayal based on not only a real life story but people and settings with which he was personally familiar. In many ways it is the story of all three musicians, Gordon, Powell and Young. But even more it is based on a fine book on the life of Bud Powell by the young Frenchman who befriended him (which I cannot put my hands on right now). It's as close to truth as you can come. By the way, Dexter played Montreux the next year and while he sounds fragile in the film, he play with great strength."
No middle ground
Charles Andrews | Fort Worth, TX USA | 09/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I find it curious that in all the reviews of "Round Midnight" that there is virtually no middle ground. People either loved the movie (most) while others hated it. I suspect those that didn't like the movie are devotees of fusion and fail to appreciate the jazz of the 1950's. Gordon while not the "topical" character of the film, lived this story as an expatriated saxphonist. He brings a reality to the picture that is lacking in similar ventures such as "Bird". While I think "Bird" is too an outstanding film, the reality of watching the music being created live is not there. This film shames efforts like "Lady Sings the Blues" because of its stark reality. There is no glossing over and memorializing Dale Turner in the movie. He's there with all his warts for all the world to see. This wasn't a star vehicle like "Lady..." was for Ross. This may be the most honest film ever made."
Portrait of an Artist as a Jazz Man
Joe Pierre | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Round Midnight" is a masterpiece of a film that portrays the life of a jazz musician on an extended residence in Paris in the 1950's whose struggle with alcoholism and abuse by his "handlers" invites the friendship of a young Frenchman who attempts to aid him in sobriety and salvation. The protagonist jazzman, "Dale Turner," was based on a composite of real-life jazz legends Lester Young (tenor sax) and the tortured and enigmatic Bud Powell (piano). In fact, while much of the film is fictionalized, much of it is drawn directly from the memoir/biography "Dance of the Infidels" written by Francis Paudras, who in real life befriended Bud Powell during his Parisian expatriate days and on whom the character "Francis" is based.

The tone of the film is wistful and tragic as it follows Turner's struggle as an artist creating incredible beauty but destroying himself with alcoholism, and the desperate attempts of his friend to save him (if you like happy stories over realism, stick to your standard Hollywood fare). Tavernier defied the movie studio by insisting that real-life jazz tenor sax great Dexter Gordon (who himself played with Bud Powell in Paris in the 50's) play the role of Turner (he also helped to revise and rewrite the script). Gordon has a soft, but gravelly voice that is difficult to understand on first listen, but his acting is top-notch (he is after all, playing someone he knew, as well as himself to some extent) and he nails one scene after another. He captures Turner's struggle with disillusionment, death, loneliness, paternalism, racism, and the constant pressure to create art to a T.

I don't think you need to like jazz to like this film, but it probably wouldn't hurt. There are a lot of extended scenes where Dexter Gordon is playing the music, along with a supporting cast composed of other real jazz legends such as Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, John McLaughlin, Wayner Shorter, and Pierre Michelot. The result is an authentic portrait and tribute that captures the Paris jazz scene of the 50's, along with a stellar soundtrack (released in two parts as the official soundtrack "Round Midnight" and "The Other Side of Round Midnight" under Gordon's name)."
A realistic look at jazz musicians in Paris
Joe Pierre | 12/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"With an all-star cast like Dexter Gordon and Herbie Hancock, along with many of their jazz colleagues, this movie is a realistic look at what many jazz musicians have had to go through. Countless musicians, like "Dale Turner" (Dexter Gordon) have had to deal with drugs, alcohol, discrimination and other problems. What makes this movie even better is the fact that real musicians are playing instead of just faking their instruments like in so many other movies. Herbie Hancock wrote an excellent score, and even stuck in his own "Watermelon Man" as background music in a bar scene. Other jazz greats like Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, Ron Carter, etc. make cameos in the film. Dexter Gordon is excellent as the lead character. Highly recommended for any jazz fan who wants to see a movie with real musicians playing their instruments, and a lot of good music. "Syrupy jazz ballads" they may be, but I somehow don't think "Cherokee" or "Ornithology" would be appropriate here. A mellow film, mellow music, and loud and clear message that promotes respect for jazz and its many enduring musicians."