You know, when you think about it, I very rarely ask much of you, Gentle Readers, so I hope you won't mind if today I do.
And I'm not really asking all that much - only that you devote just under ten minutes of your busy lives to watching this remarkable, remarkable thing.
There. Now wasn't that worth it?
The music, of course, is "Rhapsody in Blue," the landmark work by Mr. George Gershwin, which had its world premiere in New York 90 years ago today, under the baton of Mr. Paul Whiteman, leading his Palais Royal Orchestra, with Gershwin himself on piano.
This, just to be clear, is not that night (the Aeolian Hall was nice, but I doubt it featured a two-story powder-blue concert grand), nor are any of those chorus boys pretending to play the piano Gershwin. It's still Paul Whiteman, though, and the color is original. It was a real challenge to get something like an actual blue using the two-strip Technicolor technology available in 1930, when this was made, as the two-strips themselves were red and green. The movie was Universal's prestige release that year, however, and the effort lavished on King of Jazz (Whiteman's unofficial title) paid off, even though some at the time snarkily referred its big number as "Rhapsody in Turquoise."
I think it's pretty splendid, from the fabulous exotic dance that introduces it to the LouiseBrooksische showgirls to the very idea that a movie - even a revue like King of Jazz - could just stop in its tracks and say, "people, look at this," (much as I've done to you) knowing that it was in fact so wonderful that they would. Ninety years later, they still do. You're welcome.