Best Movies by Farr

Round Midnight

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What's it About

Ailing expatriate jazzman Dale Turner (Gordon), one of the world's greatest tenor-sax players, has a nightly gig at a club in late 1950s Paris, where he forms a close friendship with bebop admirer Francis Borier (Cluzet). Aware of Turner's ongoing struggles with booze, heroin, and depression, Francis offers him a place to live and soon becomes the older man's de facto caretaker. The arrangement has a palpable effect on Turner's playing, but strains their relationship.

Why we love it

Tavernier's vivid, sensitive ode to the brilliant exiled musicians who flocked to his country in the 1950s to escape racism (and find a more appreciative fan base) might well be the greatest jazz film of all time. Dedicated to Bud Powell and Lester Young, "Midnight" lovingly evokes the mood and atmosphere of the bebop scene (Herbie Hancock's Oscar-winning score was recorded live, on the set), as well as the dark and murky mindset of many of its practitioners. Adding to the authenticity, Tavernier cast real-life musicians to fill the roles, including sax great Gordon, who received an Oscar nomination for his devastating portrayal of the laconic, raspy-voiced Turner.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"