The Glen Miller Story

Give a brief (1 paragraph) biographical sketch of the principal character/musician.

The Glen Miller Story focuses on the life of Glen Miller who was born in 1904 but died in 1944. He was a big-band trombonist, a composer as well as a band leader an arranger. Glen Miller enrolled in the University of Colorado but did not finish his course, therefore dropped out of school and pursued his music career. Glen dominated the music industry from 1939 to 1943 as the best selling and recording artist while at the same time leading favorite bands (The Jimmy Stewart Museum, 2013). He recorded several songs, and most of them were top ten hits within four years in his jazz music career. However, his aircraft disappeared over the English Channel due to bad weather as he was traveling during World War II. He was flying from the United Kingdom to France to entertain the U.S troop. Even though his plan disappeared on December 15, 1944, this news was in public on December 24, 1944. Miller’s remaining family included his wife and his two adopted children (The Jimmy Stewart Museum, 2013). He later received Bronze star award which his wife received on his behalf in a ceremony in 1945.

Socially and musically, how is the principal character portrayed?

Glen is a friendly person who likes to socialize with people from different backgrounds and does not give up in life. He even introduces Hellen to his family and her surprise everyone knows her thus indicating that Glen told them about her often.  He is passionate about his music career and goes beyond his comfort zone to accept any offer related to music as long as it will give him a chance to explore his music career.

What historical phase of the development of popular music does the principal character belong to?

Glen represents the time when Jazz was beginning to emerge in the 1930s, but few accepted this genre of music. At that time most of the jazz bands were perceived as a threat to the cultural values of a country. However, Glen was among the band leaders who became successful as the new jazz genre combined different elements to incorporate almost every culture in their music.

How does the life and music of the principal character reflect the issues we’ve examined in relation to that historical phase?

Glen’s life represents that of a typical jazz arranger during 1930s. This genre of music had not been accepted by many due to ordinary perception. Therefore it was challenging for a musician of this genre to get employment thus continued to live in poverty. However, Glen is determined to be successful in his music career since he does not give up even after being rejected. He also accepts the offer to play the orchestra in a musical play thus gives him the opportunity to advance in his career and form a band that becomes successful.

Describe the narrative of the film. How does the story unfold? – This is the core of your movie review.

The Glen Miller Story film focuses on the life of a male musician and a bandleader who struggles throughout his career to become successful with the full support of his wife. The film setting takes place in the 1920s in Los Angeles Glen Miller lives in poverty, and he wants to pawn his trombone to the pawn shop then will buy it later when he earn some money (The Jimmy Stewart Museum, 2013). He attends the interview for a musician for high but gets rejected for playing jazz music. The pawn owner informs him of another audition for Ben Pollack’s band tries out and fortunately gets hired immediately.

He gets advance payment and purchases faux pearls as a gift for college lover, Hellen Burger.  The band visits Denver and Glen gets the opportunity to meet with Hellen after not seeing each other for almost two years. However, Hellen cannot remember him but agree to meet him, yet he is also not able to meet with her. He later shows up at Hellen’s home and wakes her up then drives to see his family. They spend some time together and remember their old times then Glen leaves after promising to call Hellen.

After two years the band becomes popular and moves to Atlantic City, but Glen remains in New York City. He gets his trombone back and accepts the offer to play the orchestra in a musical play. He later marries Hellen in an impromptu wedding and starts leaving their lives in New York City (The Jimmy Stewart Museum, 2013). Glen tries to build his music career, but his passion was arranging. Therefore, Hellen encourages him to pursue his dream and never give up in life. This point shows how Hellen is a supportive wife, and Glen listens to her since he starts to study several compositions and writes songs that he successfully performs at the club. Hellen gives him the idea of starting his band and support him financially. The group becomes successful and gets the opportunity to play for the Army as Glen receives the title of the army captain. He travels to Paris from London to play to the army despite the continuous air raids and bombings indicating how determined he was in his career. Unfortunately, his plan did not land in Paris, and Hellen gets the information that Glen disappeared and becomes devastated. However, his band plays one of his new jazz arrangements and believes that Glen’s music will impact many lives.



The Jimmy Stewart Museum (2013). The Glen Miller Story (1953). Retrieved on March 24, 2019, from