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Blues in the Night (1941)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 15 November 1941 (USA)
"Jigger' Lane forms a band that includes singer Ginger 'Character' Powell, wife of the trumpeter Leo Powelll, and Nickie Haroyen and Peppi. All of them dedicate themselves to work as a unit... See full summary »



(from a play by), (screen play)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Whorf ...
Del Davis
Leo Powell
Brad Ames (as Wally Ford)
Nickie Haroyen
Peter Whitney ...
Pete Bossett
Billy Halop ...
Sam Paryas
Herbert Heywood ...
Barney (as Charles Wilson)
Matt McHugh ...


"Jigger' Lane forms a band that includes singer Ginger 'Character' Powell, wife of the trumpeter Leo Powelll, and Nickie Haroyen and Peppi. All of them dedicate themselves to work as a unit and to play 'blues' music. The dedication isn't paying off in money and, while riding the rails in a boxcar, they meet and befriend a gangster named Del Davis. He offers them a job at a New Jersey roadhouse, where Powell falls in love with Kay Grant, a former 'real-good friend' of Davis. But when Powell learns that 'Character' is about to have a baby, he returns to her. "Jigger" tries to make Kay the band's singer and, when this fails, runs off with her. She leaves him with nothing to show for him except a nervous breakdown.Back at the roadhouse, after his recovery, Kay shows up, has a quarrel with Davis, shoots and kills him and plans to take back up with "Jigger", who knows better but just can't help himself. While she is waiting in a car for him, along comes cripple Brad Ames, who she put in ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


2 GRAND BANDS! JIMMY LUNCEFORD'S and WILL OSBORNE'S! MUSIC GALORE! (original print media ad - mostly caps) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 November 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hot Nocturne  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The melody of "The Man That Got Away" was actually written for this film as an up-tempo song called "I Can't Believe My Eyes". Harold Arlen disliked the Johnny Mercer lyric and put it in his trunk unused, only to pull it out years later to give to Ira Gershwin, who wrote a masterful new lyric for A Star Is Born (1954). See more »


When Brad and Kay crash their car toward the end of the movie, The car looks like a '40 or '41 Buick. The car in the crash is an much older car. See more »


Jigger Pine: [to Character] Remember, kid. Stay in the groove.
See more »


Referenced in Sucker Punch (2011) See more »


Blues in the Night
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Played during the opening credits
Sung by William Gillespie (uncredited) in jail
Played and sung by blacks during a montage
Reprised often by Richard Whorf (uncredited) at the piano (dubbed by Stan Wrightman) (uncredited)
Used often as background music
See more »

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User Reviews

Little Bit Of This, Little Bit Of That......
19 August 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie was a bit unusual because it starts off strictly like a musical the first 20 minutes. It had me puzzled; I didn't think I had rented a musical. Well, it wasn't, as it turned out, even though music was a central element in the story. The rest of the film was a combination of drama, film noir and melodrama. At least that's the way I saw it and, yeah, I was glad to see IMDb confirm my description when I got to the title page here to post the review.

The only time the movie bogged down was when it became a little too melodramatic in a few spots. Betty Field ("Kay" )was usually in those scenes, playing a woman with a chip on her shoulder. As I watched her, I thought, "Wow, this woman is tailor-made for film noirs. She could have been another Marie Windsor." Sadly, she wasn't, but she was in a good number of movie and television shows. Still, I think noir would have been the best vehicle for her.

Priscilla Lane plays the female opposite: the wholesome-looking good gal ("Character") who just wants the band to click and for everybody to be happy. Heck, that's what the band in general wants, but "Jigger" is the guy who keeps putting a monkey-wrench into the deal and seems to be the band member whom everyone looks to for leadership.

Richard Worf plays "Jigger," and he's so-so as an actor. The fact he never made it big is understandable. There's a smoothness to his delivery that's missing. His changed his career from acting to directing in 1945 and did better at that. Obviously the same can be said for another member of the band in this story: "Nickie," played by Elia Kazan, who classic film fans know as a very famous director.

When all is said-and-done, actors Lane and Lloyd Nolan ("Del") seemed to be the most "real" in this film, and those two were the ones who had the best careers of this cast, particularly Nolan. Jack Carson and Howard da Silva are also in this movie and they're "known" actors, too.

My favorite part of the movie was a very short scene with about 15 minutes left with "Jigger" was in the hospital and he was hallucinating. The innovative camera-work was terrific, right out of Dali painting. Kudos to director Anatole Litvak for some good closeup shots and interesting camera angles and use of light, in that scene and others in the film. This movie is very well photographed. Ernie Haller was the cinematographer. Haller's resume includes some very famous films.

The odd mix of genres makes this intriguing movie I'm glad I checked out, and I recommended to fellow classic film fans.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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