‘Round Midnight (1986)

'Round Midnight (1986)

Taglines: The music and the magic come together…

In ‘Round Midnight, real-life jazz legend Dexter Gordon brilliantly portrays the fictional tenor sax player Dale Turner, a musician slowly losing the battle with alcoholism, estranged from his family, and hanging on by a thread in the 1950’s New York jazz world.

Dale gets an offer to play in Paris, where, like many other black American musicians at the time, he enjoys a respect for his humanity that is not based upon the color of his skin. A Parisian man who is obsessed with Turner’s music befriends him and attempts to save Turner from himself. Although for Dale the damage is already done, his poignant relationship with the man and his young daughter re-kindles his spirit and his music as the end draws near.

Round Midnight is a 1986 American-French musical drama film directed by Bertrand Tavernier and written by Tavernier and David Rayfiel. It stars Dexter Gordon, François Cluzet and Herbie Hancock. Martin Scorsese, Philippe Noiret and Wayne Shorter appear in cameos.

The protagonist jazzman, “Dale Turner”, was based on a composite of real-life jazz legends Lester Young (tenor sax) and Bud Powell (piano). While the film is fictionalized, it is drawn directly from the memoir/biography Dance of the Infidels written by French author Francis Paudras, who had befriended Powell during his Paris expatriate days and on whom the character “Francis” is based. The film is a wistful and tragic portrait that captures the Paris jazz scene of the 1950s.

Gordon was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and won a Grammy for the film’s soundtrack entitled The Other Side of Round Midnight in the category for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance, Soloist. Hancock won the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score. The soundtrack was released in two parts: Round Midnight and The Other Side of Round Midnight.

'Round Midnight Movie Poster (1986)

‘Round Midnight (1986)

Directed by: Bertrand Tavernier
Starring: Dexter Gordon, François Cluzet, Gabrielle Haker, Sandra Reaves-Phillips, Lonette McKee, Christine Pascal, Herbie Hancock, Frédérique Meininger, Bobby Hutcherson
Screenplay by: David Rayfiel, Bertrand Tavernier
Production Design by: Alexandre Trauner
Cinematography by: Bruno de Keyzer
Film Editing by: Armand Psenny
Costume Design by: Jacqueline Moreau
Art Direction by: Pierre Duquesne
Music by: Herbie Hancock
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: October 3, 1986