I just found this movie on TV this afternoon. It was made in 1977, shortly after the Joplin re-discovery from "The Sting". Billy Dee Williams was perfect for the title role, and Art Carney was wonderful as the music publisher, John Stark. It's a beautifully filmed movie -- I was wondering if the house that is shown in St. Louis is the same house of "Meet Me In St. Louis". The interior staircase looks the same. Does anyone know? Nice scenes of the World's Fair, and Joplin's music runs through every scene. He was a true genius.
I discovered Scott Joplin's work on my own when my son went to Iraq for a year, and I wanted to busy myself with something constructive. I can say that you cannot be scared or sad while playing the rags. So I played some every single day until he came home.
Interesting to note that any college freshman music harmony student would have no trouble analyzing the rags. They are technically quite simplistic. But the magic! Oh my! They are a body of work that should be taught to every piano major. As the movie says: Joplin's work is American, it belongs to us.
I would have liked to have seen a bit more accuracy in the film, but it was fairly close to his life. The film is pretty short also -- :>(