George Gershwin thinks he could do better, better than Broadway.
Ira Gershwin disagrees, why get funny ideas about writing po-faced piano concertos that no one hears, when you’re already getting much respect and much money (and much female attention) from writing hit shows? But what George wants George gets, and soon the brothers are travelling to Europe to meet French maestro Maurice Ravel – you know, a real composer.
Despite dreading this American invasion on his artistic privacy, the haughty Ravel warms to George, the two men share musical ideas and beaucoup du vin. It all turns sour when George returns to New York, unintentionally carrying in his luggage Ravel’s most treasured possession: a pair of slippers that belonged to Ravel’s musical forefather, the French national hero – Claude Debussy.
Now, Debussy’s slippers may reek, they may look slightly ridiculous, but their inspirational power is undeniable. Once George feels their effect, he’s loath to return them, and sets about stalling an increasingly irate Ravel. Things come to a head when Ravel unexpectedly returns Gershwin’s visit.