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It Never Was You
From Knickerbocker Holiday - Digital Sheet Music
Product InformationIt Never Was You from Knickerbocker Holiday - Digital Sheet Music
1944 Oscar nomination: Best Scoring of a Musical Picture (Werner R. Heymann and Kurt Weill). Overview: Knickerbocker Holiday is a thoughtfully created film that missed. Producer-Director Harry Joe Brown (Alexander's Ragtime Band, Down Argentine Way ) obviously put a lot of love into the film, but critics and audiences alike agreed that it just didn't click. With World War II raging, the time was ripe for a reaffirmation of the "American spirit," the complex national emotions that are represented in political jargon by mother and apple pie. The film illustrates some of the many pitfalls that threaten a stage production in transition to the screen. The stage Knickerbocker had music by the master, Kurt Weill, but only three of his songs survived the trip. The haunting "There Never Was You" got lost along the way. Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn contributed most of the new songs. The stage Knickerbocker, which admittedly enjoyed only a modest success, concerned the gut issues of patriotism, political corruption, man's inhumanity to man, and the rights of the individual to dissent. In the strongly pacifistic times before World War II, it depicted war as a condition brought about by greedy politicians. The film version, coming in the midst of a worldwide conflict, tiptoed delicately over anything resembling an issue and came up with a curious tangle of operetta love story and patriotic homilies. Villainy was of the black-and-white horse opera variety. Maxwell Anderson's stage script concerned the search by author Washington Irving for the roots of the American spirit. He finally discovers it in the person of Brom Broeck, "the first American." Together they explore the elusive American quality in "How Can You Tell an American?" Their description of this highly unorthodox individual seems mild by today's standards, but in 1944, "a really fantastic and inexcusable aversion to taking orders" would have been regarded as dangerous, possibly even traitorous.
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