The Legend Of 1900


Directed by: Giuseppe Tornatore
Written by:Alessandro Baricco, Giuseppe Tornatore
Starring: Tim Roth, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Melanie Thierry, Bill Nunn, Norika Aida
Released: June 1, 2000
Grade: C+

From director Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso) comes this “fable” of a piano player born on a boat at the dawn of the 20th Century.  The young baby was orphaned by his mother and an African-American employee working in the bowels of the ship found and raised him.  He also gave him the unique name of Nineteen Hundred.

Nineteen Hundred travelled back and forth his entire life between England and America aboard the ship and never set foot on land.  In that tiny world was crafted the greatest piano player that ever lived.  Uninfluenced by music from the land, Nineteen Hundred created his own music and was the talk of musicians around the world.  But he would not give in to temptation, and would not leave the boat in search of fame and fortune.  Nothing could drag him away from the boat he called home.

This film is a stretch and I know it’s not a true story but when you get to the end there is a sense of disappointment.  You expect some moment by film’s end but it just doesn’t arrive.  The first hour is aptly described as boring with little impression made at all.  It’s so ludicrously far-fetched that it makes it very hard to find any emotional attachment with the characters.  Tim Roth was admirable in the leading role but the best performance comes from Pruitt Taylor Vince who plays a trumpet player aboard the boat named Max.

Designed as a film that will appeal to pianists and classical music enthusiasts, The Legend Of 1900 is a dreary tale that doesn’t really know where it’s going.  Most disappointing.