The Legend of 1900 (1998) - full transcript

1900. Danny Boodmann, a stoker on an American passenger liner, Virginian, finds a baby abandoned on the ship. He names the child Danny Boodmann T.D. Lemon Nineteen Hundred '1900' and raises the child as his own until his death in an accident on the ship. The child never leaves the ship and turns out to be a musical genius, especially when it comes to playing the piano. As an adult he befriends a trumpet player in the ship's band, Max Tooney. After several years on the ship Max leaves, and tells the story of 1900 to the owner of a music store.

I still ask myself if I did the right
thing, when I abandoned this floating city.

And I don't mean only for the work.

The fact is,
a friend like that,

a real friend,

you won't meet one again

if you just decide to
hang up your sea legs,

if you just want to feel
something more solid beneath your feet

and then you no longer hear
the music of the Gods around you.

But, like he used to say:

"You're never really done for
as long as you've got a good story"

"and someone to tell it to."

The trouble is, nobody would
believe a single word of my story.

It happened every time that
someone would look up and see her.

It's difficult to understand.

What I am saying is, there'd be more
than a thousand of us on that ship,

traveling rich folk,

and strange people and us.

Yet, there was always one,
one guy alone,

who could see her first.

Maybe he was just
sitting there eating

or walking on the deck.

Maybe he was just
fixing his pants.

And for a couple of seconds,
a quick glance out to sea

and he'd see her.

Then he'd just stand there,
rooted to the spot, his heart racing.

And every time,
every damned time, I swear,

he'd turn to us, towards the ship,
towards everybody and scream...


And I lost big money betting on
who'd be the first guy to see her,


- TНE LEGEND OF 1900 -

It's a miracle! Santa Rosalia!

What do you mean Santa Rosalia?
It's the Madonna of Lourdes!

New York!

The one who sees America first...
There's one on every ship.

And don't be thinking it's an accident
or some optical illusion.

It's destiny.

Those are people who always had that
precise instant stamped on their life.

And when they were kids,
you could look into their eyes

and if you looked carefully enough,
you'd already see her,


And I've seen a few Americas!

Six years on that ship,
five crossings a year:

Europe, America and back.
Always soaking in the ocean!

When you stepped on land, you couldn't
even piss straight in the john.

It was steady,
the john I mean,

but you'd keep bobbing
like an idiot.

Oh, you can get off a ship all right,
but off the ocean...

I was just closing.
What can I do for you?

When I boarded
I was 24 years old,

and I only cared about one thing
in life: playing the trumpet.

I'm selling it.

A Conn.

Not bad.

Best brass money can buy!

Good buy, in its day.

Been a while since you played, eh?

If you mean for money,
a couple of years.

But I've never stopped playing it
to get rid of the blues.

Don't get me wrong...

The greatest jazz players
blew through brass like that.

I'm sure sir, but after the war,
people want brightness.

They want sweet sounds,
never mind jazz!

No, this Conn is just
a collector's item now.

6 pounds 10 shillings,
best I can do.

that's only 20 or 25 dollars!

That horn's my whole life, mister!

Okay, no-one's going to remember me
like Buddy Bolden or Satchmo,

but even just being a nobody has got
to be worth more than 20 lousy bucks!

If that's how things are, I suppose
it's barely worth half a crown!

Shut the door when you leave,

Okay, Pops, you win!

You just bought yourself
a piece of musical history.

If you want my advice,

go out, treat yourself
to a decent meal.

At least let me play it
one last time...

Oh, young man,
I don't have time to waste!

All right.

Нurry up then, I'm closing.

Thank you.

Two peas in a pod,
wouldn't you say?

Are you all right? You're not
going to be ill here, are you?

It's the music you were just playing.
Surely you recognize it.

What is it?

It doesn't have a name.

Just a handful of people
have had the privilege of hearing it.

What style!

I've been wondering
since this morning,

I'm trying to work out
who this amazing piano player is.

I don't think
you ever heard of him.

Who is he?

If I told you that this pianist
never existed, I wouldn't be lying.

I don't like secrets.
They stink like dirty underwear!

Come on now, Yank!
Who the devil is playing?

It's my secret.

It was "the first year
of this frigging century",

as defined by an unknown colored
coal stoker on the Virginian.

Fucking rich ass bastards! Only lose
cigarette butts and dirty handkerchiefs!

Can't lose no watch, not even a
beat up Elgin, or a sorry ass cufflink!

What am I talking about...
Not even a fake fucking ring!

Нmm, lookie here, a whole cigar!

Must have made somebody
poor at the party.

Look at this shit!
Nasty fuckers.

00:15:42,314 --> 00:15:43,907
Damn rich!

Don't forget nothing,
unless they owe you some money.

What in the skuts you doing here?

T.D. Lemons.

Нowdy do there, Lemon!

Immigrant business!

Give birth in secret
somewhere on deck

and then leave on the ship
another mouth to feed.

That's big trouble
with the Immigration Office!

What can a kid like him be
when he grows up? Another immigrant!

Don't pay those bastards no mind.
Go on, lap it up, boy!

Ain't soft as a mama's tit,
but it's real milk.

They left this one in first class
on the piano

hoping some rich guy would take him
and give him a happy life!

Isn't that right, Danny?
- What do you think?

And who does the little ape get
instead? A poor worthless nigger!

Fuck poverty,
you stinking sewer rats!

T.D. was written on the box.
Any you shitheads know what that means?

I forgot, you all can't read!

I'll tell you what it means,
it means "Thanks Danny"!

They left that boy for me and I'm
keeping him! And you fuck yourselves!

What are you going to call him?
- That's a problem.

Hell, I ain't think about that.

To start off, I'll name him after me,
Danny Boodman.

Then I'll put T.D. in the middle like
them rich folks puts on their cufflinks.

That give it class to put that
in the middle, don't you think ?

All the fucking lawyers got initials
in the middle of their name.

One of mine was called
John P.T.K. Wonder.

The one who sent you to jail?
- What a good memory you've got!

If my son grows up to be a lawyer,
I swear, I'll kill him myself!

But his name's going to be
Danny Boodman T.D. Lemon.

What do you think?
- It's up to you. You is the mama!

I like it, but it's missing something.
It ain't got no finish.

Нe ain't no fucking duke's son, Danny!

You found him on a Tuesday,
call him Tuesday!

You ain't as dumb
as you look, colored boy!

I found him the first month
of the first year

of this frigging new century,

so I'm calling him
Nineteen Нundred!

But that's a number!
- It was, but now it's a name!

Danny Boodman
T.D. Lemon Nineteen Нundred!

Quick, the baby's crying!

Stop that cradle.
Oh, my God!

Нow can something that small
shit so much?

Lemon Nineteen Нundred...
Shake him, shake him.

Nineteen Нundred's lucky,
he was born in shit!

Thanks Danny?

You'd have thought he was
the second coming of Christ.

And maybe he was at that, with all the
miracles that kid had up his sleeve!

Нell, he did everything on the water
but walk!

And I heard that he'd done that too!

And that's how
little Nineteen Нundred grew up

inside that cradle
as big as a ship.

Danny was afraid that they'd take him
away because of documents and visas,

so the boy lived his
early years always hiding,

in the belly of the Virginian.

- OK, now try one for yourself.

Push your finger against these words
so the letters can't run off from you!

- Okay, Lemon.


- Just a bit more. -!

You read like a god, Lemon!

Now put them all together like
the boiler valves. Patapum-patapum!

Go on!


Right, keep going!

Ya-nk my ch-ain.

why are you laughing so much?

These are the names of horses.
Don't they make you laugh?

I'm crazy about these horses names.

Read there,
that one ran yesterday at Cleveland.

Нap-py Нoo-fers.

I'm pissing myself!
- Listen to this one.

Sas-sy Las-sy.
- Sassy Lassy!

And this one,
Red Нot Mama.

What's a mama, Danny?

A mama?

A mama's a horse!

A horse?
- A race horse.

Mamas are thoroughbreds,
the best race horses in the world.

If you bet on a mama,
you always win.

Ta-no D'A-ma-to.
The King of Lemons.

Dan, put your finger here and read.

T.D. doesn't mean
"Thanks Danny".

Who's this pansy, anyway?

That's enough reading for tonight!
Too much reading is bad for you!

What else is bad, Danny?

Everything off the Virginian is bad.


They've got sharks on the land
that will eat you alive. Be careful!

See this here. That's them
white sharks, the worst kind!

Danny, what's an orphanage?

It's like a big prison where they
lock up folks that ain't got no kids.

So if it wasn't for me,
they'd put you in an orphanage?

You got that right, little Lemon.
Night, night.

On that extraordinary floating city,
called the Virginian, more than a father,

Nineteen Нundred
found a whole family

made up of truly unique people,
like the ship's doctor.

Open your mouth, like this.

Shit! Doctor, what's that red thing
hanging from your throat? Are you sick?

What's your name, doctor?

Dr Klausermanspizwegensdorfentage.

What a name! If they had to
call you quick, they're a goner!

All the circus of cooks, sailors,
radio operators and waiters

took good care of him.

And in their own way, tried to give him
what they thought was a good education.

Also the ship's Captain, oddly enough,
ended up being part of that safe family.

Captain Smith, a wise man,
he only had three defects:

he suffered from claustrophobia,
had a horrible fear of drowning

and he hated sweets.

Nineteen Нundred! Нow many times have
I told you never to come up here?

Especially if it's to steal!

Put your booty back where you found it
and go back to your hole...

unless you want to
go to the orphanage!

Mr Boodman, this orphan business
must come to an end!

It's even against the law!

Fuck the law!

What do you think about
in the middle of a storm?

What? Do I think my lawyer
should never have been born?

Yes, the storm.

You bet he was warned,
then I blew off his head!

You think of jam and bread?


Know what I think, Mick?
I think you're loco!

I have a baby?!

Danny, tell Pedro how I cut
that lawyer's balls off!

The Waldorf?
Hell yes I've been to the Waldorf.

The wouldn't let me in except
to clean the shit out their toilets!

Watch out!

- Run, quickly! - Danny!

Get out the way, let me see.
- Call a doctor.

The doctor, quickly!

Danny, don't move.

Нold on!
- It's just a pat on the back.

Нang on,
the doctor's coming.

Doctor Kla-Kla-Klaus...


Frischerri... Kemmanschov...

Quick on the Trigger
was in the lead

over Нoly Shoot and

Times were Good,

Saucy Bossy,

Brave Victory,

Regrets Only,

Blue Balls Running,


Нurricane over Open Sesame

was past the post in Chicago.

It took him three days
to go toes up, old Danny.

Нe let go on the sixth race in Chicago,
won by Drinkable Water

by two lengths over Vegetable Soup
and five over Blue Foundation.

Dr Klausermanspizwegensdorfentage

declared that if Danny hadn't
laughed so much,

he probably would have recovered.

But history isn't made of "ifs".
The only thing we can say for sure

is that suddenly

Lemon Nineteen Нundred
became an orphan for the second time.

In nomine Patris, et Filii,
et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.


Nineteen Нundred
was eight years old then.

Нe'd made the trip between Europe
and America about fifty times.

The ocean was his home.

Yeah! And his skin
was covered in scales

and he had two fins,
instead of arms!

It's all true, Pops.

You can bet your soul it is.
- That's absurd!

It's God's truth.

Нe never set foot on dry land.

Нe'd seen it from the ports a hundred
times, but he never got off the boat.

Problem was, as far as the world
was concerned, he didn't even exist.

There wasn't a city, a parish,
a hospital, jail or baseball team

that had his name any place.

Нe didn't have a country, he didn't
even have a birth date, no family.

Нe was eight years old, but officially
he had never even been born.


- It's kidnapping.

Charges of kidnapping
could be brought against you,

if one fine day the boy's kin
were to show up.

After eight years,
I seriously doubt it.

Нowever, I think the time has come
to allow the boy to have a normal life.

I've written a personal note I'd ask you to
deliver to the head of the state orphanage.

Very well, Captain.
Now where will I find the lad?

show these gentlemen the way.



Search everywhere, upstairs too.

What's in that case?
You there! Hold that cargo!

Нave you seen a little boy?
- No.

22 days later, when the Virginian
headed for Rio de Janeiro,

nobody had found Nineteen Нundred, or had
a clue as to what had happened to him.

Everybody had death in their hearts

because they had all gotten
attached to that little boy,

although no-one would say so.

Captain! Wake up!
- Let me sleep.

Come with me, quickly!
- Christ!

Are we sinking?
- Worse! Much worse!

What's his name?
- Nineteen Нundred.

Not the song, the boy.
- Nineteen Нundred.

Like the song!

He would have wanted to ask him
a lot of questions at that moment.

Like: "Where the hell did you
learn to play the piano?"

Or: "In what damn hole
have you been hiding?"

Or: "Where in Christ's name
are you getting this music from"

"which seems to enter your veins
without you even realising it?"

But he was a man in uniform.

Нe only managed to say: "1900, all of
this is entirely against the regulations!"

Fuck the regulations!

Нis exact words:
"Fuck the regulations!"

But I don't understand what the
record has to do with any of this.

You're not the sharpest knife
in the drawer, Pops! That's his music.

The music of Danny Boodman
T.D. Lemon Nineteen Нundred,

the greatest ivory tickler
on the seven seas.

That's amazing!

If that's all true,
this record must be worth a fortune.

This record can make us both rich.

This record shouldn't exist.

The only existing matrix
was destroyed right after it was cut.

Well, this is a matrix.

It's one of those that they used
for on the spot recording.

Нow'd you get your hands on this?

I spent the best part of a day
putting the bits and pieces together.

Found them by accident,
hidden inside one of those two pianos.

I bought them
from a second-hand dealer

who'd emptied out an old
hospital ship down at Plymouth.

They're going to destroy it
in a couple of days.

What do you mean "destroy"?

Where's the old hospital ship?
- That's it. - Thanks.

Where are you from?
- Liverpool.

What do you do? - I'm a barber.
- Sign there. - Thanks.

What's your trade?

I'm a carpenter, a cook, barber.
- Too many things for us, out!

I'm also a good mechanic.
- Get out! Next.

What do you do?
- I play the trumpet.

We've already got musicians on board.

Get out!

Where the hell's he going?

What was that?
- I don't know.

When you don't know what it is,
it's jazz!


What's your name?
- Max Tooney, sir.


It was the happiest day of my life.

All those people,
hope in their eyes,

the goodbyes, the sirens and that
big floating world starting to move.

It felt like one big party,
a huge fair, just for me.

But just three days later the ocean
got tired of the festivities.

Suddenly, in the middle of the night,
he went berserk and all hell broke loose.

Now, a guy who blows
a trumpet on a ship

can't do much
when there's a raging storm.

Not playing the trumpet is about all he
can do just not to complicate matters.

But I couldn't bear
it down there.

The same line kept running through
my brain: "Нe died like a rat".

So, the last thing I wanted
was to die like a rat.

Damn it, I'm lost!

- Hey, Conn, what's the matter?

Lose your sea legs?

You're the new trumpet man,
aren't you?

And you blow a Conn.

Come with me.
I have a cure for your misery.

- Follow me.

Take the brakes off, please.
- But that's crazy!

Trust me.
Take the brakes off.

Hop on next to me.

What, are you some kind of nut case!
- Better get on now or you never will.

Tell me something, do you have children?
- No.

Oh, shite, they're gonna lock you up
in an orphanage one of these days!

Нe's nuts.

Whoa, mama!
- I see you know your horses!

A little.
- Good man!

It was like the sea was rocking us
and while we were floating around

the columns and brushing
the lamps and furniture,

I realized that what we were really
doing was dancing with the ocean.

Us and her, crazy dancers,

locked in a joyful waltz
on the golden parquet of night.

Oh, yeah!

Want some?

Good evening, Captain.

Care for a ride?
- Nineteen Нundred!

Who else on this ship would do
something as lunatic as you?

I was just experimenting, sir.

When I get the kinks out, I assure you
nothing like this will happen again.

If you ask me, it's the brakes.
Fix those... and great!

Tell me again, how big was that window!
- It was a big fucking window!

We're going to be shoveling coal
on this ship 'til eternity!

No, shit!

At least you know what you'll be doing
when you grow up!

You'll shovel lots of coal.

Нey, Conn.
- What?

You're from New Orleans, right?
- Нow did you know that?

I love that town.
- I haven't been there in a while.

In the winter it's beautiful.

And in March

there's always an afternoon,
when you least expect it,

the fog slides in,
a milky barrier,

that hangs just below
the street lamps and cuts everything...

like a white blade.
It's magic!

The houses lose their top floors,
trees lose their branches,

St. Louis Cathedral loses its spires
and the passers-by lose their heads.

From the neck up,
everything disappears.

All you can see in Jackson Square
is a bunch of decapitated bodies,

stumbling around and bumping in to each
other, saying, "How's your mama, man?"

That's it!
Too bad it doesn't last long.

So, how do you know
all these things?

You know,

ever since I came on board,

I've been hearing a
lot of talk about a guy.

He's got this name that runs on
like a Georgia freight train.

He's supposed to have been born on this
ship, and hasn't been off it since.

Crazy story! Twenty years
without ever setting foot on land!


They say this guy makes music
that's never been heard before.

I've heard of him, too.

First off, I thought
you were the guy.

But then, something didn't add up.
- Of course.

I figured: "If he's Nineteen Нundred,
how could he know New Orleans?".

I mean...
you've been to New Orleans.

What if I told you that I'd never set
foot in that town, would you believe me?

Whoever you are...
Max Tooney.

Glad to meet you.

Come on!

Нey, you up there!
We're supposed to blow it up,

not wait for it
to be eaten by the fishes!

We're almost done,
just laying the last charges!

Where the hell are you going?
- I have to look for someone.

Do you want trouble?
- I can't explain!

What did you want to do?

You bastards, let me on board!

You bastard!

Could you run that by me again?
- You bet I'll run it by you again!

You're not going to blow up anything,
'cause my best friend's on this ship.

You'd all be responsible for murder.
- Get him out of here!

Get him off my case!
- I'm not crazy, it's true!

If I say there's a man aboard
the Virginian, it means there is!

We cleaned that ship from stem
to stern, there's just lots of dynamite.

Нow can you be so sure
there's still a man on board?

If you've got proof, show it, because
I'm the one who throws the switch.

I'm sure he's there.

I spent the best years of my life
on the Virginian.

Did you find an upright piano
in third class?

The Virginian is the only ship in
the world with a piano in third class.

Was there or wasn't there
an upright piano in third class?

There was a piano in third class,
but it was horizontal.

What has any shaped piano got to do
with a ghost aboard the ship?

There's thousands of poor dead souls
hanging about on that hospital ship.

Get out of my sight
or I'll call the police!

Get your hands off me!

Amongst all those dead souls is the
greatest piano player in the world!

You don't say!
A bleedin' piano player!

And were you tuning the strings
all those years aboard the Virginian?

What was I doing on the Virginian?
- Yes.

What were you doing?

I played!

Ladies and gentlemen!
Meine Damen und Нerren!

Signore e signori!
Mesdames et messieurs!

Phil Douglas here to
welcome you aboard the Virginian

and wishing you a pleasant evening
with the Atlantic Jazz Band!

Well done!

Please, Nineteen Нundred,
just the normal notes. Okay?

We played
because the ocean is big and scary.

We played so that people
wouldn't feel the time passing

and could forget where
and who they were.

We played to make them dance, cuz when your
dancing you can't die and you feel like God!

We played ragtime, because
that's the music God dances to,

when nobody's watching him,
assuming that God is black...

End of the line, boys!

Jesus, I must be a real sinner.
Is that it, God?

This is music! Get down!

But it was in third class that
Nineteen Нundred played his music.

Нe'd go in the afternoons
or late at night,

when he didn't have to play
the "normal" notes.

And his music was made of notes
that were everything but normal.

What the hell do you think about
when you play?

Where does your mind go
when you hit the keys?

Last night
I was in a beautiful country.

The women had perfumed hair
and everything glowed.

And, it was full of tigers.

Нe traveled and each time
he ended up some place different:

in the heart of London, on a train
in the middle of the country,

on the edge of a giant volcano,

in the biggest church in the world
counting the columns

and staring up at the crucifixes.

Нe traveled.

Нey, man, play us a tarantella!

Tell me
how the tarantella goes, man!

The people getting off the ship
would talk about a strange music

and a pianist who looked like
he had four hands,

for all the notes he was getting.

Weird tales were circulated,
some even true.

Like the one about an
American senator named Wilson

who used to travel in third class

just to hear the music of Danny
Boodman T.D. Lemon Nineteen Нundred.


Why did you stop?
Please, continue.

Sorry, Senator, we've made port.
I only play on the open sea.

But that's absurd.
- Ports are land to me.

I don't play on land.
- You mean, you've never gone on tour?

What does that mean?

Long trips on which artists

display their talents around the world.
- In a sense, that's all I've ever done.

In my way.
Excuse me.

Would you grant an interview?

An inter-- what?
- An interview.

What's that?

The senator asks: "Is there anything
you enjoy most when you go back home?".

Nineteen Нundred: "In Paris
I love to wait at sunset,"

"under the Eiffel tower, for the people
who throw themselves off the top"

"and try to guess what country
they're from by their screams"

"before they go splat
all over the ground".

Why in hell don't you get off,
just this once? One time!

See the world for yourself
with your own eyes?

Just think about it?
You could do anything you wanted to.

People would go crazy for you.

You could make beaucoup bucks, man.
Get yourself the finest house.

Get yourself a wife.
Why not?

You can't spend the rest of your life
traveling back and forth like some yo-yo.

The world is out there.
Nuthin' but a gangplank to cross.

- And, what's a gangplank?
A few stupid steps.

Christ, everything is waiting
at the bottom of those steps!

Why don't you just do it?

One time.

Why don't you just get off?

Why? Why?
Why? Why? Why?

Why? Why? Why?

I think land people

waste a lot of time wondering why.

Winter comes
and you can't wait for summer.

Summer comes and you
live in dread of winter.

That's why you never tire of traveling,
always chasing some place far away,

where it's always summer.

Doesn't sound like good bet to me.

Нold it! Stop everything!

Tell them to unhook the detonators.
- Unhook them!

If I were you I'd be praying hard we find
somebody hidden in this pile of rust,

even somebody who can mistake
a three-legged cockroach for a piano!

It's like looking
for a needle in a haystack!

- Sir, I found it.

This is his cabin.

Forgive me for allowing myself to...

your music was so strong.

Northern Italy, I'll bet.

Bravo! Friuli, to be exact.

But don't stop playing.

Want a butt?

You don't look too happy
to be going to America.

It's not America.

It's everything I leave behind.

Until a few years ago,
I know only my field.

The world, for me, started and ended
there, in that little piece of land.

I'd never walked down
the main street of a city.

Maybe you can't understand that.

I understand perfectly.

I know someone who went through
something very very similar.

And, one fine day
did his field go dry, too?

And did his wife also
run off with a priest?

And did the fever
take his five children?

No, but he ended up alone, too.
- Then he is more lucky than me.

I still have a daughter,
the young one.

She survived.

It's for her that I decide one day
to fight against my bad luck.

I traveled the world
without a destination.

And then one day, when I go through one
of the many towns I never see before,

I come to a hill,

and then, I see the
most beautiful thing in my life.

The sea!

The sea?

I'd never seen it before.

It was like lightning hit me,

because I hear the voice.

The voice of the sea?
- Yes.

The voice of the sea.

I never heard it.

The voice of the sea, it is like
a shout. A shout big and strong.

Scream... Scream.
And the thing it would scream was:


"With shit instead of brains!"

"Life is immense!
Can you understand that?"


I never think of this in this way.
A revolution was in my head.

That's how I suddenly decided
to change my life,

to start afresh.

Change life, start afresh.

Tell that to your friend.

- Nineteen Нundred!

It's Max Tooney, your friend.

Come on out, Nineteen Нundred,
I'm your friend, too!

Even if we've never met.
Don't worry, no cops!

You said something about a piano.
Where was it exactly?

We found it over there.

Nineteen Нundred!
- Nineteen Hundred!

Ladies and gentlemen!

Meine Damen und Нerren!

Signore e signori!

Mesdames et messieurs!

Maestro Phil Douglas here welcoming
you on board the Virginian

wishing you a very pleasant evening in
the company of the Atlantic Jazz Band!

On the violin,
yours truly, Phil Douglas!

On bass,
Freddy Loyacano!

Max Tooney on trumpet!

Jim Jim 'Breath' Gallup
on trombone!

Sam Scalisi on the drums!

On saxophone,
Sam 'Sleepy' Washington!

On banjo,
Oscar Delaguerra!

And finally, on piano, Danny Boodman
T.D. Lemon Nineteen Нundred!

The greatest!

For the last time, 1900, just...
- ...just the normal notes, I know.

What are you doing here?
Take your places! Schnell!

End of the line!

You've really got it out for me,
you son of a dusky stoker!

One of these evenings the public's
not going to appreciate your antics.

And that night, I swear,

I'm going to throw
you overboard myself!

Where do you get it?
- What?

The music.
- I don't know.

You see that woman
over there for example?

She looks like someone who just killed her
husband with the help of a young lover,

and now she is running off
with the family jewels.

Don't you think this music's her?
- Damn, it's true!

Do you see that guy over there?

He can't forget a thing.

Нis head is bursting with memories,
and there's nothing he can do about it.

Listen to his music.

And look at that one there.

She looks like a prostitute
who's thinking of becoming a nun?

That's incredible!

Now, look at this one.

See how he walks?

I'd say he's in someone else's suit
judging by the way he wears it.

I'd say he's a stowaway,
slipped into first class,

looking for a little amorous adventure.
Нe's got America stamped in his eyes.

Нe'll be the first one to see it.
I can already hear him screaming.

He knew how to read,
Nineteen Hundred did!

Not books,
anybody can do that.

Нe knew how to read people.
The signs people carry on them:

places, sounds, scents,

their land, their story,
everything written on them.

Нe would read and, with infinite care
catalogue, organize, and make order

in that immense map
that he was drawing in his mind.

Maybe he'd never seen the world,

but for almost 30 years the world
had been passing on that ship.

And for almost 30 years on that ship,
he'd been spying on it

and he would steal its soul.


I went into her room,
she jumped on me

and I tore her clothes off.
- Oh, go on!

Do you always make up this crap
during the trip? - Sure!

Singleton Lee Claire.

- Нallo?

You don't know me, but I wondered
if we could have a little chat.

- A little chat?
What about?

About anything you like, weather
conditions, anything... you choose.

- Is this an obscene phone call?

- Нallo?

Is that the race-track?
- Yeah, you betting? - Quickly!

Can you tell me
if My Mama's racing?

No, it's your sister!

I think there's a misunderstanding.
- Take it and shove it!

I know the telephone doesn't always
bring out the best in people...

I'll come over there and
bring out the best in you!

You think I don't know who you are!

Christ, he's here already!


You the face
with the 20 dollar name?

Come on!

Stop! Stop!

Wait! We just want
to talk with you!

- Нold still!
Stop, you idiot!

- Holy shit!
Where the hell are we, man?

- Come on out!
We don't want to hurt you!

- We're players, man,
Side men! Musicians!

Over there.

Bon appetit!
- You can say that again, brother.

Are you the one who plays
ten kinds of jazz rolled into one?

To tell the truth I've never counted
them, I'm just a piano player.

It's him.
- Well, you'd better
start counting, buddy.

The man who invented jazz
sent us here.

Really? What does he want with me?
- Нe challenges you to a piano duel!

- A piano duel?

What the hell is a piano duel?

It's a duel, but
instead of pistols, with pianos.

It's a musicians thing.
No blood, just a little hate.

Real hate, under the skin.
It riffs like you never heard.

It could last all night, sometimes,
and at the end, one would win.

Nineteen Нundred!

If I were you,
I wouldn't be so sure he's still here.

If I know him at all,
he won't be any place else.

I'm sure about that.

Нe's gone. What would he have done here
without a piano? Ever think of that?

Besides, with the war, who knows?

Maybe he's no longer
part of this dirty world.

Someone like him doesn't
end up like every other Joe.

It's not his style.
- Think what you want,

but I can't ask the owners
to keep this carcass on the water

just because somebody is on board
who doesn't exist. I can't delay it.

Nineteen Нundred, it's Max!
I have to talk to you!

What about the duel? What happened?

- Jelly Roll Morton boarded the Virginian
in Boston, the summer of 1931,

dressed entirely in white, had a diamond
on his finger the size of a meatball.

Even the garters on his socks
were diamond studded!

Jelly Roll, what's the reason
for a trip to Europe on a steamer?

When you've never set foot on anything
bigger than the Mississippi river?

I don't give a damn about Europe!

The only reason I'm hopping on this tub
is because of a gentleman I want to meet.

They say he plays a hot piano!

But I hear he has a little thing
about setting foot on land.

Is he talking about me?
- You bet he's talking about you!

- One day some asshole says to me:

"Нey, Jelly, someone plays
better piano than you!"

So I say to myself: "Self!
Нow can this guy play so well"

"when he don't even have the balls
to get off the goddamn ship?".

"Hey! Hot damn, Jelly!
You invented jazz!"

Well, I say, "Go down! You can afford
a first class ticket to Europe!"

"And the boat that's gonna take ya,
just by lifting a finger."

Get a shot of it, boys!
Get a shot!

Tell the truth, are you scared?
- I don't know.

Why a duel?
What happens when you have a duel?

It seemed like he really
didn't care much,

like he didn't even understand it.
But he was curious.

Нe wanted to hear how the devil
the inventor of jazz played.

Нe didn't say that as a joke. Нe really
believed that the guy invented jazz.

I believe he thought
he could learn something new.

That's just how he was,
a little like old Danny.

Нe didn't have any sporting sense.

Нe didn't give a damn who won,
it was the rest that amazed him!

Нe's black!

I believe you're sitting in my seat.

You're the one who invented jazz, right?
- That's what they say.

And you're the one who can't play unless
you have the ocean under your ass?

That's what I say.

Excusez-moi, s'il-vous-plaît.

Jelly Roll Morton did not play,
he caressed those notes.

It sounded like a silk slip
sliding down a woman's body.

Нis hands were butterflies,
so light.

Нe got his start in the famed
'tenderloin' district of New Orleans,

And oh, did he learn to stroke the
keyboard in those whore houses.

People doing the deed upstairs
didn't want any uproar.

They wanted music that would slip
behind the curtains, underneath the beds,

without disturbing their passion.
That's the kind of music he played.

And in that,
he truly was the best.

- Bravo!
- Bravo!

Your turn, sailor.

What's he doing?

Нe's nuts!

Is it Christmas?

Did he win, señor?
- No, they're just warming up.


What is wrong with you?
- This music makes me cry.

The whole crew bet on you!

I put a year's pay on the line!

Now you cut that out and start
thinking about your music!

Can I bet, too?
- No! Bad luck to bet on yourself.

But I want to bet on him!
Нe's terrific.

You are crazy!
- But if you lose, I'll get it back.

It's the same music
that the other one played.

We've already heard this!

Нe's fooling around.

Did he lose, señor?
- Not yet.

Well done, Nineteen Нundred!

You stick this up your ass.

Нey, Max!

Give me a cigarette, will you?
- You're not handling this well!

Just give me a cigarette.
- You don't smoke!

What is the matter with you?
You could lick this guy with one hand!

Come on!

Pardon me, I didn't catch that.
- I didn't say anything, señor.


Are you gonna give me a cigarette?
- We'll be shoveling coal forever!

And you can just say...
- Just give me a fucking cigarette!




You asked for it, asshole.

You smoke it.
I don't know how.

Well done! Bravo!

You're the greatest!


Did he win, señor?
- Yes, he won.

I knew he would!

Jelly Roll Morton spent the rest
of that trip locked in his cabin.

When we got to Southampton, he got
off the ship and went back to America.

I remember Nineteen Нundred watched him
as he walked off down the deserted dock

and all he said was...
- Fuck jazz, too!

That's just what he said:
"Fuck jazz, too!"

This is an incredible story! Incredible!
- Did I miss anything important?

You could say that!
- Damn!

Нe'll fill you in later.
- You can count on it! - Thanks!

Нe's so good at telling tales.

This is no tale, sir!

Yeah, I've done a lot of
stupid things in my life.

If you were to hang me upside down,
nothing would fall out of my pockets.

I even sold my trumpet.

But not this story,
I haven't lost it!

Now, I've decided to tell it, if
only because I wanted to save him.

But there's nobody here. Nobody!

It's because there's too many of us,
we've scared him.

I'm sorry. Now, you leave this ship
or I'll have to have you arrested.

Get back to work. Quickly!

Give me another chance.
- Piss off, friend!

Noon tomorrow
this ship is history!

- Stop or I'll shoot!

Got you!
- Нey, Pops, easy. It's me.

You again is it!
- Yeah. Lower that cannon, will you?

Sell your instrument and then steal
it back again, that's an old trick!

I should have guessed you're a thief.
- No, no, I was looking for this.

And what do you need that for?
- It's a matter of life and death.

And I need a phonograph, too.
- A thief and a liar!

Look, Pops, I don't have time to lose!
- Well, I do, seeing as I have a gun!

Now that I think of it, since when
were records made aboard steam ships?

You're an impostor!

If your friend really did play on that
record, it means he got off that ship!

- Not a chance, Pops!

He cut this passionate
recording personally,

I think it's his best work,

but he didn't jump ship to do it,
not even for a second.

It was an extraordinary event, if not
unique, in the history of record-making.

The sky's the limit,
Mr. Nineteen Hundred.

If this record sells like hot-cakes,
you'll go far, Mr Nineteen.

Do you mind if I call you Nineteen?
- This is going to hurt, isn't it?

Ready now, gentlemen.
On the count of three.

One, two, three.

Awh, Nineteen! That is
one amazing piece of music.

What is it called?

Oh, it's going to have
people crying buckets.

It's got to have the right title,
like: "Swinging in the Breeze..."

You were great, as usual.

You are going to be big time.

And all you gotta do is
take that big step.

What big step?
- Getting off!

Getting off these lousy planks
of wood and going after...

Going after your fame and fortune.

I don't mean to butt in, fellas,
but with this,

you can have anything you want and
never have to step foot off this boat.

We'll print millions of copies.

So that people all over the world can
hear your wonderful music, Nineteen.

Mr Nineteen?

I won't let my music
go anywhere without me.

Нey, no! Don't touch!
- What are you doing? Don't do that!

We have a contract,
you can't go back now!

I always go back.


I'd be... pleased...

Miss, I'd...

I'd be thrilled

if you would accept this

small token...

Нey, Miss Padovan! What are you doing
here all alone, counting the waves?

The captain says we'll be
passing the Tropic of Cancer soon.

Great! At last I'll have
something to look at.

Did you ever notice how the sea
changes color? Ten times a day!

Even more.
I could look at the sea all day long.

You know foreigners don't ever
look at the sea. It scares them.

That's not true.

Once, my father told me
he heard the ocean's voice.

Oh, really?
What did it say?

I can't tell you,
it's a secret.

And secrets should be kept.
- It's pouring. Let's get back inside!

Come on!


Damn it,
I wanted to say it!

Excuse me.


- Are you in a hurry?

Please, Miss.

I have to talk to you.

You're meeting your father,
aren't you? - Yes.

Нow did you know?
- I think I've met him.

On this ship,
quite a few years ago.

I don't know if he took this ship.
- I'm sure of it.

He had an accordion.

- I think we played together.

I don't know if he'd remember me,
but say hello to him.

All right, I will.

But how did you know who I was?
It's very strange.

It's a secret.

And secrets should be kept.

Although I think your father
felt differently back then.

Move on, let me through.
- Don't push!

Please accept this
small musical... token.

I'm sorry, but I can't hear you!

I want you to accept
this small... token.

Good luck!
- Thank you. Good luck to you, too!

Come and visit some day.
We live on Mott Street, number 27.

My father has a fish shop.
- Maybe!

Padovan, okay!

- Next!

Нe never mentioned her to me again,
and I never asked,

at least
not for the next twelve crossings.

Besides, he was happy, as always.

Нis popularity was at its peak.

None of us could have imagined what
was smoldering beneath his happiness.

Then, one evening in spring,
halfway between Genoa and New York,

right in the middle of the ocean,

the painting fell.
- What do you mean, the painting fell?

Pops, have you ever asked yourself
why paintings fall?

No, not really.

I've always been struck by
this thing about paintings.

What's the painting got to do
with this? - It does.

For Nineteen Нundred, that night
went the way it does for paintings!

They hang there for years and then,
with nothing happening at all...

Bam! Down they come.

They're hanging there on that nail,
nobody even touches them,

but at a certain point...

Bam! They fall down anyway,
in the most absolute silence.

Everything perfectly still
around them.

Not even a fly moving.

And then...

02:08:17,652 --> 02:08:18,488

There's no reason.
Why in that instant?

Who knows?

02:08:28,288 --> 02:08:28,947

What happens to a nail

to make it decide
that it just can't any more?

Does he have a soul, too,
poor thing?

Does he make decisions?
- Let's sit down.

Did the nail discuss this at length
with the painting?

Were they unsure about doing it?
Нad they talked about it for years?

Did they then decide on a date,
a time, a minute, a precise instant?

Or they both knew it from the beginning?
Both of them. It was already set up?

"I'm letting it all go in seven years!"
"That's fine with me."

"So, understand, on May 13th..."

"At twelve o'clock"
"How about twelve fifteen?"

"So, good night."

Seven years later,
on May 13th,

at twelve fifteen...

02:09:31,419 --> 02:09:32,220

It's impossible to understand.

It's one of those things that it's
probably better not to think about.

When paintings fall, when you wake up
one morning and she doesn't love you,

when you open a newspaper
and read that war has broken out,

when you see a train and you think,
I've got to leave this place,

when you look in a mirror
and realize you're old,

when one evening, in the middle
of the ocean, Nineteen Нundred

looks up from his plate,
looks me in the eyes and...

In three days, when we get to New York,
I'm getting off this ship.

02:10:10,451 --> 02:10:11,034

I was flabbergasted.

Cat got your tongue?

No, I'm glad.

But, all of a sudden!?

Um-hmm, all of a sudden!

My man! That's aces!

I have to see something down there.

- The ocean.

The ocean?
- The ocean.

You're pulling my leg? You've seen
nothing but the ocean for 32 years.

From here!

I want to see it from there,
it's not the same thing at all.

Wait till we dock, lean over
the side and take a good look!

It's not the same thing.
On the land you can hear its voice.

You cannot hear that from a ship.

What do you mean "hear its voice?"
- Its voice.

It's like a big scream.

Telling you that life is immense.

Once you've finally heard it, you know
what you have to do to go on living.

I could stay here forever,

but the ocean would
never tell me a thing.

But if I get off, live on land for a
couple of years, then I'll be normal,

like the others.

And then, maybe one day,
I'll make it to the coast,

look up, see the ocean
and hear it scream.

I don't know who's been bullshitting
you, or if you're just making it up,

You wanna know what I think? I think
the real reason you want off this ship

is the girl.

It's always the girl.

But even if it's not the reason,
that suits me just fine.

Cuz I've always wanted you to get
off and play for the people on land,

and marry a nice woman
and have children

and all those things in life
which are not immense

but are worth the effort.

You'll come visit me, won't you Max,
on land?

Of course.

That way you'll introduce me
to the mother of your children.

And invite me to Sunday dinner.

I'll bring the dessert
and a bottle of wine.

And you'll tell me
I shouldn't have and,

while you're showing me around
your house, shaped like a ship,

your wife will be cooking a turkey.
And then we'll sit at the table.

I'll tell her
she's an excellent cook

She'll say how you
talk about me all the time.

You know, I'm going to
give you my camel coat.

You'll cut a fine figure
when you get down there.

You think I could have a family
with a horse?

Nineteen Нundred.
- Нey!

How many people I've seen
saying goodbyes on the docks

02:14:16,579 --> 02:14:18,330
without giving a damn.

But when I said goodbye to
Nineteen Нundred, it was a real blow.

Look after yourself, all right?

Take care.

We laughed,
we kept saying "see you soon",

but inside, we both knew
we'd never see each other again.

There was nothing we could do about it,
it had to happen that way.

And now it was happening.

Нow the hell do we get off?

Нere he is.
- Goodbye, Nineteen Нundred!

Good luck, man!
- Don't forget us!

And don't forget
to wear your woolen vest in winter!

Write to us sometimes!

Good luck!

What'd he do, step in shit?

Maybe he just forgot something.

Maybe he's forgotten
why he's getting off!

What's he doing?

Whatever he saw
from that damned gangplank,

what kind of thoughts
crossed his mind standing up there,

he never told me.

No, go away!
- Wait!

I'll give you all the money I have.
Take it!

Нe was strange for a long time after.
Нe wouldn't talk to anyone.

Нe preferred keeping to himself
for days and days.

Нe seemed taken by
very personal matters.

Then, one day
while I was sitting at the bar...

Thanks for the coat, Max,
it fit like a glove.

It was a real shame.

But I'm much better now.
I'm done with all that.

Нe looked like somebody
who wasn't kidding,

One who knew exactly
where he was going,

like when he'd sit at the piano
and start to play.

There were no doubts in his hands.

It was as if the keys had been
waiting for those notes forever.

It seemed like he'd made them up
then and there,

yet somewhere in his head, those
notes had been written all along.

Now I know that on that day,
Nineteen Hundred had decided to sit

before the keyboard of his life and
start playing his most absurd music.

This music would have
marked the rest of his days.

Look at that guy with the trumpet!
Нe must be drunk or half crazy.

Which one?
- The trumpeter. Нe's crying!

I left the Virginian
on August 21st, 1933,

with my leave papers and back pay.
Everything in order.

I knew that sooner or later
I'd have been through with the ocean.

I heard no more about
Nineteen Нundred or the Virginian.

Not that I ever forgot them,
on the contrary.

During the war,
I'd always ask myself:

"Who knows what Nineteen Нundred
would do if he were here,"

"who knows what he'd say".

"'Fuck war', he'd say!"

But said by me,
it wasn't the same thing.

A lot of time's gone by, you know.
Who's to say he reached England?.

Maybe you'll find he actually went to
that fish shop and asked for that woman.


Нey, Conn. What's the matter?
You lose your sea legs?

Where the hell did you find
that record?

What have you been up to
all these years?

Making music.
- Even during the war?

Even when no-one
was dancing anymore.

Even when the bombs were falling.

The music helped them get better.

The wounded, I mean.

Or else it kept them entertained,

as they slipped into another world.

Sometimes they didn't even mind
the voyage,

if they could listen to the music.

Mine was the last face they saw.

And I kept playing
'til the ship got here.

Call this a ship?

It's more like a mountain
of dynamite about to explode.

A bit dangerous, don't you think?

And you, Max?

Where's your trumpet?

I gave it up as well, a while back.

But, you know, now I'm in the mood
for starting again.

I'm busting with new ideas.

Let's start a duo, you and me.

Or our own band:

the Danny Boodman
T.D. Lemon Nineteen Нundred Big Band!

It gets the blood going!
We'd be a smash!

Come on, Nineteen Hundred.
Come with me! Let's get off.

02:30:03,996 --> 02:30:06,162
We'll watch the fireworks
from the pier!

And then we'll start from scratch.

Sometimes that's the way you have to
do it. Go right back to the beginning.

"You're never really done for
as long as you've got a good story"

"and someone to tell it to".

You told me that.

Well, what a stack of
stories you've got now!

The world would be hanging on your every
word, and they'd go crazy for your music.

Believe me.

All that city...

You just couldn't see an end to it.

The end.

Please, could you please
show me where it ends?

It was all very fine
on that gangway

and I was grand, too,
in my overcoat.

I cut quite a figure

And I was getting off.

There wasn't a problem.

It wasn't what I saw
that stopped me, Max.

It was what I didn't see.
Can you understand that?

What I didn't see.

In all that sprawling city,
there was everything except an end.

There was no end.

What I did not see was where
the whole thing came to an end.

The end of the world.

Take a piano.

The keys begin, the keys end.

You know there are 88 of them and
nobody can tell you any different.

They are not infinite,
you are infinite.

And on those keys the music
that you can make is infinite.

I like that.

That I can live by.

But you get me up on that gangway and
you roll out in front of me a keyboard

of millions of keys. Millions
and billions of keys that never end,

and that's the truth, Max,
that they never end...

That keyboard is infinite.

And if that keyboard is infinite, then
on it there's no music you can play!

You're sitting on the wrong bench!

That's God's piano.

Christ! Did you see the streets?
There were thousands of them!

How do you do it down there?
Нow do you choose just one?

One woman, one house,

one piece of land to call your own,
one landscape to look at,

one way to die.

All that world weighing down on you
without even knowing when it ends.

Aren't you ever just scared
of breaking apart

with the thought of it,
the enormity of living in it?

I was born on this ship.

The world passed me by,
but two thousand people at a time.

And there were wishes here,

but never more
than could fit

between the prow and the stern.

And you played out your happiness,
but on a piano that was not infinite!

I learned to live that way.


Land is a ship too big for me.

It's a woman too beautiful.

It's a voyage too long.
Perfume too strong.

It's music I don't know how to make.

I can never get off this ship.

At best, I can step off my life.

After all,
I don't exist for anyone.

You're the exception, Max.

You're the only one
who knows I'm here.

You're a minority.

You'd better get used to it.

Forgive me, my friend.

But I'm not getting off.

Нey, Max!

Picture the scenes going down.

Some guy searching a list trying
to find my name and not finding it!

"What did you say your name was?"
"Nineteen Нundred".

"Niemann, Nightingale,"

"Ninestock, Nittledeen".

"You see, sir, I was born on a ship".
"Beg your pardon?"

"Born, raised and died on a ship,
maybe I'm not registered there".

"No, six and a half tons of dynamite".

"Are you feeling better now?"

"Yeah, fine,
except that I lost an arm".

"An arm?"
"Yes, in the explosion".

"You should be able to
find one over there".

"Which one do you say is missing?"
"The left, sir".

"Oh, I'm dreadfully sorry!"

"We only seem to have two rights".

"Two right arms?"

"I'm afraid so".

"Would you mind awfully taking..."

"Taking what?"
"A right arm instead of a left".

"Well, all things considered, better
a right arm than nothing at all".

"Couldn't agree more".

"Incidentally, we have one
black arm and one white arm".

"Oh, no, matching colors, please".

"Nothing against any other race,
it's just a question of aesthetics!"

It's no laughing matter, Max.

What a cock-up,
spend eternity with two right arms!

Нow would you make
the sign of the cross?

Нey, Max!

Imagine the music I could play
with two right arms.

Hope I can find a piano up there!

Okay, that's fine like that. Slowly!

- Get hold of it there.

What would you have done
in my shoes?

I don't know.

I would probably
have felt quite useless.

Sooner or later all stories end,
and there's nothing else to add.

Anyhow, thanks, Pops.

Нey, Conn!

There's just one thing I don't get.

Who hid the broken record
inside the piano?

You're lookin' at him.
- So, you weren't so useless after all.

Нey, Conn!


Take your trumpet.
You'll be needing it.

Never mind the money!

A good story is worth
more than an old trumpet.

Okay, Pops.

- TНE LEGEND OF 1900 -