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Round Midnight is a 1986 American-French musical drama film directed by Bertrand Tavernier and written by Tavernier and David Rayfiel. It stars Dexter GordonFrançois Cluzet andHerbie HancockMartin ScorsesePhilippe 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.

Dexter 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. Herbie 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.

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Synopsis[edit]Edit

Dale Turner, a famous African-American tenor saxophone player in Paris in the 1950s is befriended by Francis, a struggling French graphic designer specialized in film posters, who idolizes the musician and who tries desperately to help him to escape alcohol abuse. As he succeeds, the budding friendship they develop changes their lives forever.

Cast[edit]Edit

Production[edit]Edit

Round Midnight was filmed in Paris and New York. It was produced by Irwin Winkler.

Tavernier defied the movie studio by insisting that real-life jazz tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon play the role of Turner. Gordon, who himself played with Bud Powell in Paris in the early 1960s, helped to revise and rewrite the script. The supporting cast is likewise composed of jazz musicians (mainly from the generation which followed Gordon and Powell) such as Herbie HancockBobby HutchersonJohn McLaughlin, and Wayne Shorter, among others who play the music live throughout the film. In addition to the musicians, the movie stars François Cluzet, Gabrielle Haker, Sandra Reaves-Phillips, Lonette McKee, and Christine Pascal.

Soundtrack[edit]Edit

Main article: Round Midnight (soundtrack)

The score for the film was composed by Herbie Hancock. The soundtrack was in two parts - Round Midnight and The Other Side of Round Midnight - released under Dexter Gordon's name and featuring his last recordings, although he does not appear on all tracks. Both albums were produced and arranged by Hancock.

Reception[edit]Edit

Round Midnight received excellent reviews from critics, and it holds a 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Awards[edit]Edit

Dexter Gordon was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Herbie Hancock won the award for Best Music, Original Score.

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