The Glenn Miller Story is one of the most touching and durable of all Hollywood musical biopics thanks to a convincing, three-dimensional performance by Jimmy Stewart as the beloved bandleader whose smoothly swinging style was as much a part of the American fabric during World War II as bobby sox and bacon rations.
The intelligent script tells the appealing story of a restless small-town boy who had a consuming ambition to play the trombone in a dance band, to get ahead in the music world, and to develop his own orchestra with a personality and a sound unique in popular music.
It follows the no-nonsense pattern of Miller’s life without hokum thrown in to jazz up the story, and it ends as his life actually ended with his disappearance in a military plane in 1944.
June Allyson got one of the plum roles of her career as the girl who snagged the guy and married him, and there are marvellous guest appearances by Louis Armstrong, Frances Langford, Gene Krupa and the Modernaires.
Dozens of Glenn Miller hits are here, their original arrangements enhanced by newly mastered stereophonic sound.
The musical sequences are beautifully and artfully photographed, the direction by Anthony Mann is solid and the entire film has an unpretentious sweetness that throbs with tender sentiments. A fine and timeless little gem indeed.
Helen Burger Miller