Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Young Man with a Horn (film)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
1 Ratings
Rate This

Rate This

Michael Curtiz

Initial DVD release
April 26, 2005

United States


Biography, Drama, Music



Young Man with a Horn (film) movie poster

Release date
February 9, 1950 (1950-02-09)

Based on
Young Man with a Horn  by Dorothy Baker

Carl Foreman (screenplay), Edmund H. North (screenplay), Dorothy Baker (novel)

Carl Foreman, Edmund H. North

Kirk Douglas
(Rick Martin),
Lauren Bacall
(Amy North),
Doris Day
(Jo Jordan),
Hoagy Carmichael
(Willie 'Smoke' Willoughby),
Juano Hernandez
(Art Hazzard),
Jerome Cowan
(Phil Morrison)

Similar movies
Pitch Perfect 2
The Jungle Book

Put down your trumpet, jazzman I'm in the mood for love!

Young man with a horn 1950 trailer

Young Man with a Horn is a 1950 musical drama film based on a novel of the same name by Dorothy Baker inspired by the life of Bix Beiderbecke, the jazz cornetist. The movie stars Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, and Hoagy Carmichael, and was directed by Michael Curtiz and produced by Jerry Wald. The screenplay was written by Carl Foreman and Edmund H. North.


Young Man with a Horn (film) movie scenes

Young man with a horn 1950 original theatrical trailer


Young Man with a Horn (film) movie scenes

As a young boy, after his mother dies, Rick Martin sees a trumpet in the window of a pawn shop. He works in a bowling alley to save up enough money to buy it. Rick grows up to be an outstanding musician, tutored by jazzman Art Hazzard. He lands a job playing for the big band of Jack Chandler, getting to know the piano player Smoke Willoughby and the beautiful singer Jo Jordan.

Young Man with a Horn (film) movie scenes

Chandler orders him to always play the music exactly as written. Rick prefers to improvise, and one night, during a break with Chandler's band, he leads an impromptu jam session, which gets him fired.

Young Man with a Horn (film) movie scenes

Jo has fallen for Rick and finds him a job in New York with a dance orchestra. One night, her friend Amy North accompanies her to hear Rick play. Amy, studying to be a psychiatrist, is a complicated young woman still disturbed by her own mother's suicide.

She claims to be incapable of feeling love, but she and Rick begin an affair and eventually are married. Rarely together at the same time because of their demanding schedules, Rick and Amy constantly quarrel. She fails in her attempts to become a doctor and takes it out on Rick, demanding a divorce. He begins drinking and his mood deteriorates to the point that one day he even takes it out on Art Hazzard, a man who had done so much for him. Before Rick can apologize, Art is hit by a car and killed.

Rick becomes an alcoholic who neglects his music and even destroys his horn. He disappears, until one day Smoke finds him in a drunk tank. Jo is contacted and rushes to Rick's side, helping him to recover his love of music and of her—a happy ending found neither in the novel nor in the life of Bix Beiderbecke. Amy becomes the patron of a young woman artist.


The film is notable as being an example of 1940s film noir with a central character who isn't heterosexual. In the Baker novel, Amy is described as having lesbian tendencies, and using the usual Hollywood connotative methods and hints to circumvent the Motion Picture Production Code, this is implied in the film. Regarding Jo, Amy says: "It must be wonderful to wake up in the morning and know just which door you’re going to walk through. She’s so terribly normal."


According to The New York Times, "banalities of the script are quite effectively glossed over in the slick pictorial smoothness of Michael Curtiz's direction and the exciting quality of the score. The result is that there is considerable good entertainment in Young Man With a Horn despite the production's lack of balance."

In spite of the screenplay, the Times praised the performances of Douglas, Day and Hoagy Carmichael, but noted "the unseen star of the picture is Harry James, the old maestro himself, who supplies the tingling music which flows wildly, searchingly and forlornly from Rick Martin's beloved horn. This is an instance where the soundtrack is more than a complementary force. It is the very soul of the picture because if it were less provocative and compelling the staleness of the drama could be stultifying."

Radio adaptation

Young Man with a Horn was presented on Lux Radio Theatre March 3, 1952. Kirk Douglas re-created his role from the film. The one-hour adaptation also starred Jo Stafford and Patrice Wymore.


Young Man with a Horn (film) Wikipedia
Young Man with a Horn (film) IMDb Young Man with a Horn (film)

Similar Topics