Music that Floats
Legend of 1900
Review by Ross Anthony

A grand piano accompanied by its carefree pianist (Tim Roth) glide like a Ouija oracle across a glorious marble-like dance floor aboard the teetering cruise ship Virginia. It's 1926, the savant at the keyboard is an orphan raised by the crew whose music rages on in stormy waves; he has never set foot on dry land.

The tale is a marvelous one, like a muted trumpet's melody it plays. Conducted would be a better word than directed, the film is accented sharply with visual and audio hits that strike at the right times. Tim Roth an under-appreciated actor of excellence, will tickle your ivories with muse and tug at your grand heart strings with sympathy -- portraying a pure soul uncomplicated by cities, governments, or even an official name.

A coal throwing scene takes full advantage of the surround sound capabilities today's theaters now offer. If you aren't drawn into the dark belly of this boat by the sound of tossed charcoal, look around for a better movie house. I would have liked to have heard this little-big film expand its use of the multi-channeled system during musical performances as well.

Nearly a masterpiece, this happily embellished tour takes an odd turn just before reaching shore, leaving me to disembark disoriented. I'd have written an entirely different ending. Still, it is to be remembered that this is a legend, a myth, a tale docked at the edge of the surreal.

[Ross Anthony's Revision Notes]

  • Legend of 1900. Copyright © 1999. Rated R.
  • Starring Tim Roth, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Clarence Williams III.
  • Written and directed by Guiseppe Tornatore.
  • Produced by Francesco Tornatore at Fine Land Films.


Copyright © 1999. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:04:46 PDT