Duke Ellington in a jazz musical short with a tragic plotline.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Duke Ellington Orchestra ...
Cotton Club Orchestra (as The Cotton Club Orchestra)
Fredi Washington ...
Fredi - Duke's Girlfriend
Hall Johnson Choir ...
Choir
Edgar Connor ...
Piano Mover
Alec Lovejoy ...
Piano Mover
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Storyline

Duke Ellington plays hot jazz in a fictional story that finds him down on his luck; he tries in vain to dissuade his friend, dancer Fredi Washington, from working with heart trouble even though it means work for his band. Sure enough, she collapses on stage... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Short | Music

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Details

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Release Date:

8 December 1929 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Duke Ellington. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Public Enemy (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

Black and Tan Fantasy
Written by Duke Ellington
Played by Duke Ellington on piano
Reprised at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mmm... right.
13 October 2005 | by (Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Well, although I agree that this movie short is stereotyped and the sound is not very good(1929!), I don't agree with the low rating. To see Duke and his college friend Arthur Whetsol play Black and tan fantasy is delightful. Yes, the original with Bubber Miley on trumpet is better, but it's not on film. This short gives a good impression of the Cotton Club scene at the time this club was run by gangsters and although the entertainers were black, no black people were allowed in. This was not a gangster thing but a common American racist practice. Still, even if this clip is a racist stereotype, it's not nearly as bad as say, the average hip hop clip nowadays, which is something to worry about. Now, this movie is of enormous historical interest and features an early version of the most significant jazz orchestra of the 20th century! So please don't listen to the puritan reviews and check this out. Then try to see maybe "Cotton tail" with Ben Webster on tenor, or basically anything by Ellington. It's great music! And American culture at its best.


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