Friday, July 25, 2014

Young Man with a Horn: Rape and Pedophilia

Watched 1950's "Young Man with a Horn" on TCM Thursday night, for maybe the 3rd time. Movie-wise, I always like Lauren Bacall's character in this film.

Real-life-wise, whenever I see Kirk Douglas in a film, I always think of Douglas raping Natalie Wood. (Douglas and the teenaged Wood once went on a "Hollywood Date" -- he forcibly had sex with her, as she later told several friends.)

Glad to later read, in Kirk Douglas's own autobiography, that Joan Crawford jumped on HIM the second they entered her foyer. (She had bad breath, he wrote. But... you still got raped yourself, asshole. Karma.)

TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, when, pre-show, describing "Young Man with a Horn," said that the movie was based on the life of early jazz great Bix Beiderbecke, who died at age 28 (in 1931) from alcoholic complications. Since I like the movie, despite Kirk Douglas, and hadn't known anything about Beiderbecke beforehand, I looked up more information about Beiderbecke today...

In the "Young Man with a Horn" movie, the main character was abandoned by his parents and had to live with his sister and was generally neglected, until he discovered jazz and the extremely noble (in the movie) black men who played it. In real life, Beiderbecke had extremely solid parents in Iowa who encouraged his musical ambitions. Until he molested a 5-year-old girl:
On April 22, 1921, a month after he turned 18, Beiderbecke was arrested by two Davenport police officers on a charge brought by the father of a young girl. According to biographer Jean Pierre Lion, "Bix was accused of having taken this man's five-year-old daughter into a garage and committing on her an act qualified by the police report as 'lewd and lascivious.'"[28] Although Beiderbecke was briefly taken into custody and held on a $1,500 bond, the charge was dropped after the girl was not made available to testify. According to an affidavit submitted by her father, this was because "of the child's age and the harm that would result to her in going over this case."
Beiderbecke died of extreme alcoholism at age 28 in a Queens apartment. Between ages 18 and 28, he'd alternated between his parents' home in Iowa and traveling with various jazz bands.

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