The Rat Race (1960): Saxophone Audition with Sam Butera

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The Rat Race is a 1960 drama directed by Robert Mulligan that features Tony Curits (as Pete Hammond) and Debbie Reynolds. Tony Curtis plays a jazz saxophone doubler who eventually gets a gig on a cruise ship, but not before having all his horns stollen during an audition (the scene featured here). The whole movie is obviously rife with jazz references, so I've decided to narrow it down to my two favorites scenes. The other scene features a cameo by the great Gerry Mulligan (click here to see it now).

What makes this scene in particular so neat is that is features cameos by Joe Bushkin and Sam Butera -- as both actors and musicians.  The script also does a great job of poking fun at jazz musicians.  All jazz saxophonists will love the following exchange:

Joe Bushkin: How are you at clarinet?
Pete Hammond: *hesitates*
Joe: I got it.
Pete: ...well if I knew the arrangments
Joe: What other instruments?
Pete: Well, I play a little flute, not much.
Sam Butera: Say man, there's no such thing as a little flute, Hammond.


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