Glenn Miller Story [1953]

James Stewart, at his warmest and most avuncular, plays the bandleader who rocketed to fame during the swing era. The Glenn Miller Story may be a whitewashed version of Miller's life, but it certainly is a pleasant example of the feel-good Hollywood biopic, with the usual conventions: early struggles, loyal wife (June Allyson at her chirpiest), personal sacrifice--Miller joins the Army when war breaks out, although he doesn't have to--and ultimate tragedy. All the Glenn Miller classics filling the soundtrack make the film pretty easy to take, too: "Moonlight Serenade," "A String of Pearls," "Chattanooga Choo-Choo." Miller plays the great "In the Mood" with his military band during a World War II air-raid warning. Pure corn, but it works. Director Anthony Mann, better known for his superb series of hard-bitten fifties westerns with Stewart, keeps the story moving gently and gracefully. A hot jazz interlude features Louis Armstrong and Gene Krupa. --Robert Horton

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