Film: 817

Music | 1950 | Sound | B/W

Clip:

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Synopsis:

Count Basie plays jazz and performs some of his best known numbers: this film has a series of songs, successive variety of shots are shown quickly, reflecting the vibe and the energy of the music. There are no narrators, but visual images of the band playing their music. From the beginning to the end, the film has upbeat, light hearted mood.

Elaborately decorated stage with drapes, Count Basie sits next to the piano which has been polished very well, reflecting Basie's hands on the keys, Basie wears checked blazer and trousers and has his back towards the screen, in fact, he is facing opposite to the band with a wooden piano and directs the band, the band on the other hand are positioned on the stage, there are 15 players in total, all of them are dressed in dinner jackets, their instruments flickers stage lights. Close up, left hand side view of the trumpeter, he is doing his solo, he has hair slicked back, he is standing up and he holds a hat in his left hand, which he uses to change the tones of the sound for his trumpet. Back to the complete view of the band on the stage with Basie, the trumpeter sits down, Basie signals a Saxophonist on the far right of the screen to do a solo, other horn players plays with the Saxophonist as they howl their instruments, they hold up their instruments. Up close right hand side view of the Saxophone player, the shot is good for looking in detail of his finger works, behind the Saxophone player, parts of a palm tree, a drape and a sofa is visible. A close and full view of the band and Basie, the band is synchronising their music. Distant shot of the band and Basie, probably shot from above, useful for seeing the seating arrangements, beyond Basie and his piano a full view of a palm tree is visible as well as some flower arrangement and a sofa with a stripe patterned silky material. Close view of four trumpetors from their left hand side, they are playing together as a unit and they synchonise the movments of the instruments. Back to full view of the band and Basie. Close up of Basie sitting on the piano doing his solo from his right hand side, his hands are reflected on the surface of the piano. Close shot of the Base player, he is a very big man, who towers over his large instruments, he plays his instruments by picking the strings with his fingers. As the music increases its speed, the camera shows a quick close shot of Basie. Base player. Then back to the full view of the band, Basie directs the band by lifting his arms and signalling with his fingers of the end of the song, band finishes the song as directed and Basie looks back to the camera and smiles.

Complete change of scene, white screen with shadows of vegetation and the trio of Base, Guiter and Piano, the camera moves down towards the stage, where a girl dressed in cowboy jeans, shirts with bandana around her neck sits relaxed on a wooden deck chair, the camera moves back even more showing a stage set up in a manner of a cotton plantation, next to the girl who is singing away, there is a younger looking boy who is sitting on top of a wooden box, behind him there is a stack and on the top of the stack, two boys with cowboy hats, dressed in casual jeans wear are sitting with their arms folded humming along to the tune, on the other side of the girl, there are some stacks as well, and behind her there is the screen with the shadows of the trio playing in the background. As the three boys hums along the tune, there is a close shot of them humming away, they are smiling. Close shot of the main singer, as she sing at a slower pace. Close up of the shadown of the trio on the screen. Shot of the three backing singers. Back to the full view of the stage with everything mentioned. Close shot of the singer. Close shot of the backing singers. Close shot of the main singer. Close shot of the backing singers. Close shot of the main singer again. Full stage view again and as the song comes to an end, the camera focuses in on the main singer.

Change of scene: there are four male singers standing around a small piano with a piano player, they are all wearing suits with neckties and all of them have their hairs slicked back, the pianist begins to play and the "boys" begins to sing, the singer on the left hand side of the screen takes the lead and others follow. Closer view of all four singers showing the variety of lively expression they have as they sing away, the leading singer changes to the singer in center right of the screen who is little shorter than others. The lead changes again to a man in centre right who have a lower voice. Full view of the singers singing in harmony. Full view of the singers with the pianist all of them performing as a team. Back to the shot of four singers, the singer on the right side of the screen takes the lead and displays his extensive breathing technique. Back to the view of the pianist and the singers, all singers claps their hands together and lifts their hand as the sound of trumpets increases in the background, the singers sing away, "not having St.Louis blues" the musicians smile to the camera, end of song, change of scene.

Back to the first setting of the film with Basie and his band. Lively music, energetic, quality of the music is reflected by the short shots shown as the musicians performs their parts. Closer view of the band, Basie does his solo on the piano, the band rests, except the drummer. Close view of Basie who looks cheerful tapping away his piano. Front view of the drummer with his drum kit, he is conscious of the camera and gives a big grin. Shot of the group french horn players and the bass player standing behind them, it is possible to see their faces as they play. Shot of the group of trumpetors from their right hand side, shows them repsonding to the band enegetically. Basie begins to improvise, close up of Basie. As the music paces up and builds to a climax, the images changes rapidly in close ups of Basie. Trumpetors. Basie. The drummer. Basie. The Trumpetors. Horn Players. The band. Baise. Bass player. Basie. The Band. Basie doing his solo. The complete view of the band which joins Basie. Close up of Basie. The Trumpetors. Basie. The view of the band from a distance.

New tune, the same setting, close view of the band. This tune is upbeat as well and the images flickers from one to another, close up view of the solo saxophone player as he does his solo part. Full view of the band. Close shot of a trumpeter, the drummer is visible on the left hand side and two trumpetors sits smiling to away. Close view of the band, horn players and trumpetors stands up as they play their part, the band follows lead. Picture of the three trumpetors using their hat to change the intensity of the sound. View of the band from a distance. Back to the view of the trumpetors. View of the band from a distance. Close up view of the drummer playing his solo. Close up of the horn players. The Drummer. The Trumpetors. The Horn players. Image of four saxophone players. Close up of the band, Basie stands up and begins to direct for the end of the song. Close up view of the drummer drumming away. Picture fades. End of film. Music continues.


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