The Legend of 1900


Aug 31, 2004
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I was wondering if anyone else has seen the movie "The Legend of 1900" It's about a pianist who lives his whole life aboard an ocean liner. It's very interesting. The ship was based on the Lusitania and Mauretania.
 
May 9, 2001
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I thought the scene of 1900 playing against, and besting, the high rolling jazz star was good.
And I liked the ending, when the journalist was trying one last time to find 1900 on the derelict ship before it was sunk
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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This is a film you either love or hate. It got bad reviews and did not do well at the box office, but has developed a cult status. It's not one for those who demand historical accuracy or a logical plot. But if you accept that it's a fantasy - almost surreal at times - then it's great entertainment. Maybe like nothing you've seen before, and impossible to classify. You'd have to really hate piano music not to appreciate the soundtrack. And it's set almost entirely on an Edwardian ocean liner, though often more of a caricature than a true re-creation. Go for it. And yes, I'm one of those who loved it!
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Jason D. Tiller

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Dec 3, 2000
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I saw this movie a few years ago and I enjoyed it very much. The scene where 1900 and his friend ride the piano around the ballroom was great. They didn't care where the piano took them!

Agreed Bob, the music is very good.
 

Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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Bob told me about this movie some time ago and I went right out and rented it, then got my own copy of it. I absolutely adore the film. Yes, you have to suspend reality and accept the fantasy, but it's a wonderful film, beautifully written and photographed, and wonderfully acted. I heartily recommend it for the romantics - if you liked "Somewhere in Time" you may enjoy this - it's a buddy pic, not a romance, but romanticism encompasses more than just a love story of a man and a woman.

Kyrila
 

Ed Weichsler

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Feb 4, 2004
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....and I thought I was the only one who loved this film (I said the same thing about "Somewhere in Time"). Although I have yet to locate the soundtrack, I do have a video copy. Not only was I swept away by the lush sets, but Tim Roth (whom I had never heard of) was nothing short of brilliant. I rarely agree with the movie critics (as they get free admission & attend in a less than full theater), I felt compelled to give this a fair chance.
Simply put, a "wonderful escape mechanism!"
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Tim Roth was playing against type - violent psychopaths are his speciality! Best known in the US as Mr Orange in Reservoir Dogs, Pumpkin in Pulp Fiction and the despicable English villain who gets his just desserts from Liam Neesom in Rob Roy. For me, the only downer with 1900 is that for contractual reasons only it was savagely cropped for the English-language release, losing one quarter of its running time and God knows how much of its character development.
 
Feb 14, 2011
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It still gets airtime on comcast- I love this film, and the vessel was clealy based on lusitania or Mauritania...
 

Ed Weichsler

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Feb 4, 2004
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Always refreshing to see this movie come up again in topic. I'm ashamed to say it, but I think it's time to get out the DVD & watch it again.
I still haven't found a copy of the soundtrack as of yet.

All in all, this movie is whole lot better than "Chambermaid on the Titanic"!
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi All,

For me, the best scenes were at the scrap yard - really gave a good feeling of being at Rosyth or some such etc..grungy grandeur.

Best,
Eric
 

Inger Sheil

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Yes, I thought that was a novel means of scrapping a vessel, Sam!

I would like to watch this movie again - this time, leaving behind that niggling voice that protested a vessel like that dated to 1900. It's been quite a few years now, so perhaps I can finally take Bob's advice and look at it as a fantasy!
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Inger, if you haven't already, try Fellini's E la Nave Va (And the Ship Sails On). It'll be even more difficult to silence that niggling voice and the film is perhaps all style and no substance, but what style! You'll love the costumes.
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Hey Ed Weichsler! The Soundtrack is indeed available on CD from Amazon.com among other places.

http://tinyurl.com/2hby9t

I liked this film, although I had to really suspend my disbelief. As Inger mentioned, this was not a ship built before 1900, and I found it difficult to accept that furniture would just slide around when the ship pitched and rolled. Most major pieces of furniture would have been bolted down.

Also, an entire wall of very thin, unsupported stained glass in the "ballroom", while beautiful, would not have been present on a ship.

Loved the scoring! Found it difficult (at best) to believe that Max would just leave 1900 on the ship at the end.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Two things bothered me about this movie. First, the main characters buddy. I found it very distracting that his eyes kept darting back and forth while he was in close up.

Secondly, the ship blowing up. Dramatic yes, but we here all know they don't do that. LOL.

Other than those two nitpicks I thought it was cute.
 
Feb 4, 2007
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quote:

I found it very distracting that his eyes kept darting back and forth while he was in close up.
Yes, I, too, found that distracting enough to take me out of the story. Bad casting decision ~ although not everyone is perfect, certainly more so back then than now. However, as a serious musician, assuming that he didn't just "feel the music", Max's ability to read music would be hindered by his darting eyes - another point of unbelievability that the director obviously wasn't considering.

Another thing that bothered me was all the colorful language. Perhaps it's just me, but I would have thought that one would NOT use strong words, in public, with people one had just barely met.

In many ways, I thought the exterior shots of the ship were better than those in "Titanic".​
 
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Kyle Johnstone

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>and I found it difficult to accept that furniture would just slide around when the ship pitched and rolled. Most >major pieces of furniture would have been bolted down.

Perhaps their inspiration was none other than the Queen Mary.

In "THE QUEEN MARY Her Early Years Recalled" C.W.R. Winter writes:

"In the large Cabin Class Lounge there was some very expensive and beautiful furiture, heavy settees and easy chairs large and solidly contructed occasional tables, etc, all of which stood on thick pile carpets, and none of which was anchored to the ship. Under the carpets the the floor in this lounge was highly polished, as it was used for dances, and as the rolling increased a critical angle was reached at which the carpets began to slide across the room. This became progressively worse until the whole of the furniture in the room was sliding from side to side, a distance of 70ft. At the height of the storm in which we rolled to 44 degrees these heavily built settees, which took several men to lift, and the easy chars and tables, were not merely sliding but rolling over and over from side to side, crashing into the wall at each roll. The crew made valiant attempts to lash some of the furniture to the pillars in the room but this was a very dangerous exercise and was only partially successful, and for a couple of days and nights the furniture had to be left to its own devices as it was too dangerous to go into the room. The devastation can be imagined.

Conditions in the Tourist and Third Class lounges were just as bad. In one Tourist lounge there was a Challen upright piano in a hevy light oak case, and though this was latched to the bulkhead the screws ultimately pulled out and the piano came free. The result was unbelievable. The room was panelled, and as the piano cannoned its way round - the ship was pitching as well as rolling - destroying everythiing it its path, the panelling was ripped to pieces and the wooden case of the piano gradually disintegrated. After two to three days of this the piano was reduced to its iron frame plus strings, and as it cartwheeled round the devastated room it utter the most wierd cacophony of noises."
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Yes, I have read of this incident on the Queen Mary before. That might very well have been the inspiration. However, period photographs of ships such as the fictitious "Virginian" show that most tables and chairs in public rooms were held in place. One would assume things like pianos were as well. While they do show in the film that the grand piano in the "ballroom" had brakes on it's wheels, this would not have been sufficient to hold it in place on a rolling ship. In the film, that piano would have been sliding long before Max lifted the brakes. Interesting concept though ~ being able to ride on the bench in perfect unity with the piano while playing it at the same time. Uhm, yeah right. You just KNEW that glass wall was going to be shattered. In fact, if it hadn't, I would have been thoroughly disappointed.
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I initially thought this was a cute film, but the more I think about it, the more I am disenchanted.
 
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Kyle Johnstone

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>I initially thought this was a cute film, but the more I think about it, the more I am disenchanted.

Yeah, me to.
 

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