Fascinating Rhythm

Once and Sing Street filmmaker John Carney has found a new directing gig with Fascinating Rhythm, a musical movie inspired by the songs of composer George Gershwin. That’s enough to be intriguing on its own, but our interest is further piqued with the additional news that the legendary Martin Scorsese is going to be producing this movie.

Variety reports that Fascinating Rhythm is set to be produced by Martin Scorsese and directed by John Carney, the director of Amazon’s Modern Love streaming series and excellent film musicals like Once and Sing Street. (He also directed Begin Again, which is not nearly as good as his other movies, but isn’t quite as bad as its reputation suggests.) The film is inspired by the music of George Gershwin, the composer behind works like “Rhapsody in Blue” and “An American in Paris.”

If, like me, you have an embarrassingly small amount of knowledge about classical and/or jazz music, you may not recognize “Rhapsody in Blue” by its name alone, but you will almost certainly recognize its opening:

The original musical will reportedly “draw creative influence from the life and music of Gershwin,” but will not be a biopic about the composer’s life. Instead, the story will follow “a young woman’s magical journey through past and present New York City,” and Gershwin’s music will be featured throughout the film. Carney has already tread this ground to a degree with Begin Again, but the idea that this will be a full-on “magical journey” has me excited to see how he decides to alter his aesthetic approach.

The New York setting makes sense – not only because Scorsese famously loves the city, but because “Rhapsody in Blue,” which debuted in 1924, has become inextricably linked with the Big Apple as one of the musical representations of the Jazz Age. The song was utilized against the city’s backdrop in Woody Allen’s Manhattan, as well as a segment of Fantasia 2000 seen below:

Irwin Winkler (Rocky, Raging Bull, Goodfellas) is also set to produce this movie. Carney is writing the screenplay with Chris Cluess, who has credits on SCTV Network, Night Court, and MadTV.

Gershwin wrote Broadway musicals, movie scores, and even operas, including “Porgy and Bess,” which blessed the world with the song “Summertime.” That’s another one you may not know off the top of your head, but would definitely recognize. Here’s Ella Fitzgerald singing it:

He also wrote songs like “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.”

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