Jeff grows up near Basin Street in New Orleans, playing his clarinet with the dock workers. He puts together a band, the Basin Street Hot-Shots, which includes a cornet player, Memphis. ... See full summary »
On Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, IMDb Asks brings you a livestream Q&A and online chat with Lisa Edelstein. Tune in to Amazon.com/LisaEdelstein to participate in the live conversation and even ask a question yourself. Plus, catch up with Christina Ricci, star of new Amazon pilot "Z." The livestream is best viewed on laptops, desktops, and tablets.
Jed Potter looks back on a love triangle conducted over the course of years and between musical numbers. Dancer Jed loves showgirl Mary, who loves compulsive nightclub-opener Johnny, who ... See full summary »
Cowboy Jeff Larabee returns from the east and meets Doris Halloway, a young girl, that he regards as a vagabond, till he learns that she's the owner of the farm where he works. He tries to ... See full summary »
Youthful Father Chuck O'Malley led a colorful life of sports, song, and romance before joining the Roman Catholic clergy, but his level gaze and twinkling eyes make it clear that he knows ... See full summary »
Bijou, a saloon singer with a reputation for inciting brouhahas, is one of several deportees from a south Pacific island to arrive at another U.S. protectorate, Boni Komba. She becomes very... See full summary »
Jeff grows up near Basin Street in New Orleans, playing his clarinet with the dock workers. He puts together a band, the Basin Street Hot-Shots, which includes a cornet player, Memphis. They struggle to get their jazz music accepted by the cafe society of the city. Betty Lou joins their band as a singer and gets Louie to show her how to do scat singing. Memphis and Jeff both fall in love with Betty Lou. Written by
Lisa Grable <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
In this musical comedy set in New Orleans in the 1890's, a clarinet player with a passion for jazz, played by Bing Crosby, organizes a band of white musicians in an effort to bring this "blue music" to the white café society of New Orleans, during an era when whites looked down on jazz as a product of Black people.
The film's screenplay is not very good. Characters are poorly defined. They exist only to further the contrived plot. For a musical, there's too much dialogue, composed largely of supposedly humorous one liners. That may have worked in 1941. But times change. Sixty years after the film, the script now seems dismissive of serious social concerns, and is therefore not funny.
Meanwhile, the shallow plot dilutes the impact of the film's music. Blues numbers include "Melancholy Baby", "Memphis Blues", and several others. But they are uninspired, and seem tangential to the talky script. The only musical number I found even faintly memorable was "St. Louis Blues", performed with passion by diva Ruby Elzy.
One thing I did find interesting was the inclusion of a couple of bit part actors who would later become well known. Mantan Moreland (from the Charlie Chan series) shows up toward the beginning as a trumpet player. And Barbara Pepper (as Doris Ziffel from "Green Acres") shows up off and on in the film as a nightclub hussy.
Given the title, I was expecting a blues extravaganza, not a talk fest. Even so, "Birth Of The Blues" might have some value given its historical subject matter. And it probably would be a good film for fans of Bing Crosby, for whom the film functions as a cinematic vehicle.
8 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?