Legend of 1900

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Kimberley Dayle Edwards

Hi Everyboady!
I recently watched a really good film, made in 1999, called 'The Legend of 1900'.
I first saw it in a video store, and, I must admit, I was drawn to it by the picture of a Titanic looking ship on the cover. However, I then remembered seeing a sypnosis of it in a film magazine, and instantly I got the video out.
Er, and you wonder why? Well, basically the story is about this baby who is found on a huge ocean liner on the first day of the new century, 1900. (The ship is actually called the Virginian, was that a ship owned by the White Star Line?)This stoker finds the baby and brings it up in the bowels of the ship. The child grows up on the ship a secret, having never left it once, until he stumbles into 1st class and becomes a prodgidy on the piano. The rest of the film is basically about his life, and it is a really very sad story.
The reason I said it was like Titanic, well, it's set entirely on and around an ocean liner, mainly in the same period as Titanic, as well as having this hauntingly beautiful soundtrack which you can get with the same name.
I would have thought that Titanic fans would have flocked to see this film, even only to hear the lush music! Why was it not very well known, at least here in the UK, everyone I have asked has nver heard of it!!!
Could anyone give their thoughts on this, and if you have seen it, what did you think of it?
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
I've never seen this film so I can't comment on that. However, the Virginian was an Allan Line vessel and one of two, the other being the Victorian, which were the first steam turbine propelled vessels on the Atlantic. They went into service in 1905.

Michael H. Standart

Inger Sheil

Feb 9, 1999
Hallo, Kimberly -

I saw the film when it was released over here (and yes, was drawn to it by the four funnelled steamer). Bit odd, to be very nitpicky about it...but the film was not meant to be particularly historically accurate. The ship served more as an allegory than anything resembling an historical vessel. The ship itself looked like a 'fiddled with' Cunarder - painted in Cunard livery but a bit of a clunky version, and not a particularly Cunard name. The date of its construction was given as 1900, but nothing like that pre-dated the Lusitania class ships.

I walked out thinking I'd never heard of a ship being scrapped - not when it was made of saleable metal in the post war era - by being completely blown to smithereens. Thought it was a rather novel way of going about shipbreaking!


Kimberley Dayle Edwards

Dear Inger,
Yes, I suppose you are right, but, as you said the film was not meant to be particualrly realistic or acurate. Actually, it said on the box that I bought it in thqat it was a sort of fable, so there you are. I am really pleased that someone has seen it, because there I was thinking I was the only one! Yes, they should have done their research a little better, although I think they concentrated more on the script, actingand directing than special effects and accuracy, which is nice to see from time to time.
How did you feel after the end, when he dies? Did you cry? I did, buckets in fact. I was so upset, tears were practially rolling down my cheeks! Did you like the gorgeous music in it? I have just recently got the soundtrack, and it is really good.

Timothy Brandsoy

Has anybody seen "The Legend of 1900"? Critic Roger Ebert compared it to "A Chambermaid on the Titanic" which I haven't seen yet either. He gave it two and a half stars, so it may be borderline good.

'Legend' has an interesting premise, a boy is raised on a large luxury liner by one of her crew. He grows up on it. He's a musician played by Tim Roth. It's not Titanic, it had four red funnels, so I assume it was Cunard???

I would have rented it but the only copy was out. Darn.

Tim B

Mikael Jonsson

I have seen it too. I don't remember the name of the ship, but I remembered that it was no real ship. They say the name many times during the film.
Apr 23, 2002
Legend of 1900

Shortly after the Second World War, Max, a transplanted American, visits an English pawn shop to sell his trumpet. The shopkeeper recognizes the tune Max plays as one on a wax master of an unreleased recording, discovered and restored from shards found in a piano salvaged from a cruise ship turned hospital ship, now slated for demolition. This chance discovery prompts a story from Max, which he relates both to the shopkeeper and later to the official responsible for the doomed vessel, for Max is a born storyteller. Though now down on his luck and disillusioned by his wartime experiences, the New Orleans-born Max was once an enthusiastic and gifted young jazz musician, whose longest gig was several years with the house band aboard the Virginian, a posh cruise ship. While gaining his sea legs, he was befriended by another young man, the pianist in the same band, whose long unlikely name was Danny Boodman T.D. Lemons 1900, though everyone just called him 1900, the year of his birth. Abandoned in first class by his immigrant parents, 1900 was found and adopted by Danny, a stoker, and raised in the engine rooms, learning to read by reading horseracing reports to his adoptive dad. After Danny's death in an accident, 1900 remained on the ship. Increasingly lured by the sound of the piano in the first-class ballroom, he eventually became a gifted pianist, a great jazz improvisationist, a composer of rich modern music inspired by his intense observation of the life around him, the stories passengers on all levels of the ship trusted him enough to tell. He also grew up to be a charming, iconoclastic young man, at once shrewd and oddly innocent. His talent earned him such accolades that he was challenged by, and bested Jelly Roll Morton in an intense piano duel that had poor Max chewing paper on the sofa in agonies of suspense. And yet for all the richness and variety of his musical expression, he never left the ship, except almost, once, in the aftermath of his infatuation with a beautiful young woman immigrant who inspired the music committed to the master Max discovers in the pawnshop. Max realizes that 1900 must still be on the ship, and determines to find him, and to find out once and for all why he has so consistently refused to leave.
Jan 7, 2002
One of may favorite fictional movies in recnt years was 'The legend of 1900', starring Tim roth.
It was about a piano prodigy that was born and grew up on a 4 funnled liner that looked just like the lusitania. It's a film Lusitania buffs might want to check out...Just as the ship in 'Ghost Ship' was clearly based on Andrea Doria, the ship in 'The legend of 1900' was made to look just like Lusitania or Mauritania....

[Moderator's Note: This message, originally a separate thread in a different topic, has been moved to this pre-existing thread discussing the same movie. MAB]
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