Young Man With A Horn

Synopsis: Aimless youth Rick Martin learns he has a gift for music and falls in love with the trumpet. Legendary trumpeter Art Hazzard takes Rick under his wing and teaches him all he knows about playing. To the exclusion of anything else in life, Rick becomes a star trumpeter, but his volatile personality and desire to play jazz rather than the restricted tunes of the bands he works for lands him in trouble.
112 min

My name is Willie Willoughby,

but they call me Smoke.

I play piano in a run-of-the-mill

dance band.

Kind of monotonous.

But there were times when I got my kicks.

Not so long ago either.

Like when I palled around with Rick Martin,

the famous trumpet player.

What a guy.

We were in the thankless business

of piecing little notes...

...and phrases of music together

into a mumbo jumbo...

...that somehow turned out to be jazz.

Strictly off-the-cuff, but a lot of fun.

Of course, Rick is practically

a legend now.

People ask me about him

and those times.

Ordinarily, I don't talk much about it.

But I think a lot about it.

He had a lot of friends.

In a way, he had no friends at all.

He was a lonely kind of guy.

Always, I guess from the time

he was a kid.

He never knew his father.

And his mother died

when he was 9 or 10.

So he went to live with his sister.

He did a lot of traveling

for a kid his age.

From Missouri...

... on through Texas...

... Oklahoma...

... and finally, California.

He never did get much out of school, and

he made very few friends along the way.

Why don't you go play

with the other kids.

Hanging around the house day after day.

- You hungry?

- No.

After you eat, don't forget to put

the bread back so the ants don't get it.


- What's wrong with you?

- Nothing.

I haven't got time.

Joe will be here any minute.

But I'll tell you one thing, either you gotta

go back to school or get a job.

You just can't do nothing.

Hey, Marge, that man's here.

Hiya, Rick. Let's go, honey, we're late.

- I told you I'd be ready, didn't I?

- Gee, you look like a million.

Don't forget, the bread in the box.

So long. There's a little Chinese place

on the corner of 2nd and Flower...

...I was thinking of tonight.

And now, my friends...

...the good Lord has provided.

And there'll be a hot meal served

in the next room.

The story goes that by the time it got dark,

he could play the piano.

He could play the whole song.

After that, he had a place to go to

and something he really wanted to do.

And for a while, he wasn't

quite so lonely anymore.

Hey, you've been banging

that piano every night.

Now, get out of here.

Excuse me.

Hello, sir. Which one's the cheapest?

- You mean, the instruments?

- Yes, sir.

Well, let me see. I think the trumpet.

I can let you have this one for about $9.

- You play a trumpet?

- No, but I could learn.

I started to learn piano.

Well, the piano's a little different.

So you're a musician, eh?

If I had one, I could carry it with me

and play it any time I wanted.

- You got the money?

- No, but I could get a job.

Well, now. I think maybe

you are a musician.

Yes, sir.

And that kid out there...

... he had a perfect ear for it.

He could hear it, and he could feel it.

It hit that boy right where he lived.

Well, look at this.

- How about that.

- Hey, fellas.

Let's take a breather for a few.

What are you doing, boy?

- What do you want?

- Excuse me.

I was just listening to the music.

- Well, do you like the way we play?

- Oh, sure.

- Kind of late for you to be out, isn't it?

- No school tomorrow.

Well, you'd better come on in

if you wanna hear some music.

- Thanks.

- Will you join us in a small collation?

- A ham sandwich, perhaps, Mr...

- Martin. No, thanks.

Oh, but you gotta.

You can't listen to music

on an empty stomach.


You sure your folks won't care?

I don't have any real folks.

My sister wouldn't know

if I came in or not.

Oh, I see.

Gentlemen, this is Mr. Martin.

He says he likes our music.

- Pleased to meet you.

- Hi.

- Mr. Martin, what would you like to hear?

- Would you wanna play...?

I don't know what you'd call it,

but it goes like this:

You know, where you start off, and then

the clarinet comes in, and then the others.

- But you finish alone.

- That's "Moanin' Low."

But how do you know

who comes in where?

I can hardly remember myself most times.

You a musician, Mr. Martin?

Oh, I kind of play the piano a little.

Piano player, huh?

Yes, but what I really wanna learn

is the trumpet, like you.

You hear that? Mr. Martin knows talent

when he hears it.

What are we waiting for?

"Moanin' Low."

Have a chair, Mr. Martin. Sit down.

Thank you, Mr. Hazzard.

- Good luck, maestro.

- Thanks.

Have a cigar, Mr. Hazzard.

- It's a two-bit one.

- Well, shut me up if it isn't.

Thank you, Mr. Martin.

If he had to be a trumpet player,

he was pretty lucky...

... because he couldn't have bought

what he learned from Art Hazzard.

That's the way it started. There was no way

of stopping or changing it.

He couldn't see anything but notes and

couldn't hear anything but his trumpet.

He was cut out to be a jazzman the way

the righteous are chosen for the Church.

You're playing sharp on the high notes.

You're getting a roll.

Not bad yet, but on the way.

What do I do wrong?

You're dropping your mouthpiece

too low on your lip.

Once you get that roll, it closes your lips,

gives you a choked feeling in your throat.

And you get tired after a half-hour

of steady playing. Try it again.

And it was about then that

he started playing two ways.

One way for money,

what there was of it...

... and one way for himself.

That was his way of talking.

Well, hello, Mr. Hazzard.

- How am I doing?

- Doing pretty good.

You don't sound as if you mean it.

What am I doing wrong?

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Carl Foreman

Carl Foreman, CBE (July 23, 1914 – June 26, 1984) was an American screenwriter and film producer who wrote the award-winning films The Bridge on the River Kwai and High Noon among others. He was one of the screenwriters that were blacklisted in Hollywood in the 1950s because of their suspected Communist sympathy or membership in the Communist Party. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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