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"THE LEGEND OF 1900"
(1999) (Tim Roth, Pruitt Taylor Vince) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Mild Moderate Mild Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Minor None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Mild Mild Minor Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: As a man tries to convince authorities that a friend of his is on an old ocean liner scheduled to be blown up, he recalls the story of how he met the friend who was born and grew up on the ship, never once setting foot off it.
PLOT:
Max (PRUITT TAYLOR VINCE) is a retired musician who's wanting to sell his beloved trumpet to the owner of a small, English music shop. Playing the instrument one last time, Max belts out a tune that strikes the owner's ear and causes him to dig up an old, glued-together record of the same song. Max is amazed since only one recording of it was ever made and was certain to have been lost forever.

Yet the shop owner informs Max that the record was discovered in an old piano onboard an ocean liner set to be destroyed. Max then races off to stop that from happening since he's sure that his friend and the song's composer, 1900 (TIM ROTH), who he hasn't seen in years, is still onboard the ship.

Max then recounts how he came to know this oddly named man. Born and later abandoned in a lemon crate on an ocean liner, the Virginian, on the first day of 20th century, a baby is discovered by Danny Boodman (BILL NUNN), one of the ship's engine room stokers. With the mother long gone, Danny adopts the infant, naming him Danny Boodman T.D. Lemon 1900, or just 1900 for short.

In time, the boy grows up hidden amongst the ship's workers, and after surprising everyone with the fact that he's a pianist prodigy, eventually becomes a ship employee, entertaining passengers over the years in both first class and steerage. Yet despite his special gift and capacity to become rich off his music, 1900 never has any desire to leave the ship and thus never sets foot on dry land, no matter how much prodding or urging from others, or his attraction to a beautiful third class passenger (MELANIE THIERRY).

As Max recalls his time spent playing in the ship's band with 1900 -- including the virtuoso's piano showdown with "the man who invented jazz," Jelly Roll Morton (CLARENCE WILLIAMS III) -- he tries to stop the demolition, believing full well that 1900 is probably still on board the ship, and tries to find and remove his old friend before it's too late.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or of piano-related films, it's highly unlikely
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • TIM ROTH plays a character who was born, raised and now lives on a ship, having never set foot on dry land. Something of an eccentric virtuoso, he occasionally uses strong profanity.
  • PRUITT TAYLOR VINCE plays his trumpet playing friend, a man concerned about 1900's safety who also uses some strong profanity and smokes several times.
  • BILL NUNN plays the engine room stoker who adopts 1900 after finding him as an infant and uses strong profanity.
  • CLARENCE WILLIAMS III plays the legendary Jelly Roll Morton as a conceited musician who wants to belittle 1900 in a piano duel.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity -- with at least 14 "f" words -- is extreme and includes other profanities while colorful phrases are also present. A few characters have bad attitudes and some violence -- an accidental death and a planned demolition of an old ship via explosives -- is present.

    That death creates some brief tense family moments -- 1900 is suddenly orphaned as a boy -- while smoking and drinking are also present. Beyond that and a brief sexually related comment, the rest of the film is mostly void of any major objectionable content. While it's doubtful many kids will want to see this film, should you still be concerned about its appropriateness for anyone in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at the detailed content listings.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see people drinking on a ship's deck.
  • People have drinks in a first class dance hall.
  • Max takes a swig of liquor after getting over a bout of seasickness.
  • People have drinks on the ship in several more scenes.
  • Jelly Roll has a drink and then has another.
  • It appears that Max and 1900 have wine with dinner.
  • Max has a drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see excrement all over 1900's baby legs and in the crate where the infant was resting.
  • Danny's mouth and teeth are little bloody after an accident on the ship.
  • We see Max's head in a large vase and hear him vomiting from being seasick.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The mother who abandons 1900 onboard the ship (she's never seen) obviously has both.
  • Jelly Roll Morton is a conceited man who wishes to belittle and defeat 1900 in a piano duel (and won't shake his hand before the competition).
  • Max breaks into a music shop looking for 1900's only record.
  • Some men onboard the ship do some catcalls to a young woman with whom 1900 is infatuated.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • A large hook in the engine room gets loose and swings toward Danny, accidentally hitting him on the back of his head and knocks him to the floor (and we see blood in his mouth and on his teeth). Although he doesn't die right away, he does eventually die from this injury.
  • Some men chase 1900 through the ship, but it turns out they work for Jelly Roll Morton who wishes to challenge 1900 to a piano duel.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Rifles: Carried by soldiers/guards stationed at the Virginian in dock and aimed by a music shop owner at Max in another scene.
  • Explosives: Used to blow up and thus demolish a dilapidated ship.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Nasty f*ckers," "Go f*ck yourself," "Sh*theads," "Piss," "Idiot," "Friggin'," "Bastards," "Dirty ass," "Sorry ass," "Pansy ass," "Horse's ass," "Balls" (testicles) and "Stick this up your ass."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A bit of ominous and/or suspenseful music plays in several scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 14 "f" words (1 said by 1900 as a young boy), 9 "s" words, 8 asses (1 used with "hole"), 6 damns, 6 hells, 1 S.O.B., and 3 uses of "Christ," 2 of "G-damn" and 1 use of "Jesus Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see part of a woman's bare breast as she's breast-feeding.
  • As Max narrates about Jelly Roll's past, he mentions that he got his start playing in brothels and talks about people "doing the deed" upstairs while he played.
  • SMOKING
  • Max smokes several times as does Jelly Roll, while various miscellaneous passengers and some crew members smoke cigarettes (and a few cigars) over the years and Danny picks up an unlit cigar he found and puts it in his mouth.
  • 1900 lights a cigarette off the hot strings of his recently played piano (but doesn't smoke the cigarette -- it was only for effect).
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • 1900, at the age of eight, sees his father injured in an engine room accident, watches over him in the infirmary, and then witnesses his burial at sea after Danny dies from the injuries sustained in that accident.
  • A passenger tells 1900 about his wife running off with another man and many of their children dying from "the fever."
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Why 1900 never wanted to leave the boat and set foot on dry land.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A large hook in the engine room gets loose and swings toward Danny, accidentally hitting him on the back of his head and knocks him to the floor (and we see blood in his mouth and on his teeth). Although he doesn't die right away, he does eventually die from this injury.
  • Riding on a piano stool attached to a piano that's rolling about the ship's ballroom during rough seas, 1900, Max and the piano eventually crash through a glass wall, go down a hallway and then crash through another wall into a room.
  • Max lightly slaps 1900 on the back of his head to get his attention.
  • Max breaks some glass to get into a closed music store. The owner then comes out and holds his rifle on Max.
  • Explosives blow up a dilapidated ship and may or may not kill a person inside (it's never completely or positively confirmed either way).



  • Reviewed November 12, 1999 / Posted November 24, 1999

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