In 1927 Kansas City Pete Kelly and his jazz band play nightly at a speakeasy. A local gangster starts to move in on them and when their drummer is killed Kelly gives in, even though this ... See full summary »
A blonde actress is murdered across from a bar. An off-duty cop has been getting pleasantly sloshed, but becomes worried about his innocence when he finds out he was seen leaving the ... See full summary »
Aging bank robber, Roy Earle, escapes from prison and decides to rob a resort hotel, as a last heist before retiring. Earle's gang include Babe, Red, Marie and Louis Mendoza, an "inside man" at the hotel. However, things don't go as planned.
To pacify 104 sex-starved male soldiers building an Arctic radar base, Army psychologist Vicki Loren suggests choosing one by lot to have a "perfect furlough" as selected by the men: three ... See full summary »
Joan Collins, Jayne Mansfield and Dan Dailey star in this engaging drama based on a novel by John Steinbeck. Three strangers - a stripper (Mansfield), an alcoholic wife (Collins) and a ... See full summary »
Billie and Kristy lead a gang of armed robbers who steal from banks, armoured cars, and the like. When Billie's lover, Jim, gets caught by the police after stashing a large amount of money,... See full summary »
Will Handy grows up in Memphis with his preacher father and his Aunt Hagar. His father intends for him to use his musical gifts only in church, but he can't stay away from the music of the ... See full summary »
Stanley Kramer's WW-II character study has Lee Marvin as the Sergeant of a small squad laid over during fighting in Italy. During the otherwise boring time between battles, tensions arise ... See full summary »
Wealthy eccentric Sir Vincent Brampton and his fiancée Linda Latham hire Ken Duffield to lead them on a jungle hunt. Duffield is looking for the murderer of his son; he gets the killer and ... See full summary »
Dr. Michael Corday, a recent graduate of the Harvard Medical School, is the son of Dr. John Corday, an eminent New York City surgeon who has a tendency to continue to direct the lives of ... See full summary »
In 1927 Kansas City Pete Kelly and his jazz band play nightly at a speakeasy. A local gangster starts to move in on them and when their drummer is killed Kelly gives in, even though this also means taking the thug's alcoholic girl as a singer. Kelly soon realises he has made a big mistake selling out in this way and that rich girl Ivy is now the only decent thing in his life. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
Jack Webb actually knew how to play the cornet. He loved jazz music and, as a boy, was given a cornet by a musician who lived near his home. While he never truly mastered the instrument he knew it well enough that his handling and fingering of the cornet in this movie is accurate. See more »
"Pete Kelly's Blues" was a do-or-die project for Jack Webb, best known for playing Sgt. Joe Friday on the TV series "Dragnet". Riding on the success of his previous film "Dragnet" (1954), Webb decided to make this film as his next project. If it did well at the box office, Warners would greenlight a TV show of the same name.
"Pete Kelly's Blues" did respectable business (about 5 million), and garnered an Oscar nod for singer Peggy Lee in the Supporting Actress category, but, for reasons unknown, Warners decided to pass on the TV show. Today, "Pete Kelly's Blues" fails to muster much interest and is nearly forgotten today.
Webb's film is dripping in atmosphere, which is a major plus considering the setting (New Orleans during the Roaring Twenties)and the script (by Richard L. Breen, who wrote "Dragnet")is so airtight and taut that you just can't help getting involved in it. I know I've raked Blake Edwards over the coals for paying attention too much to the story sometimes, but with Webb, concentrating on the story is a plus. The acting is excellent, especially by Webb, who some might consider too stiff, but others will consider to be realistic. And using the CinemaScope frame for the first and only time in his career, Webb really creates some complex and stunning compositions. It should be required viewing for all budding cinematographers. It should only be seen widescreen. AMC often airs it this way, showing "Pete Kelly's Blues" in all its 2.55:1 glory.
Webb is one of the most interesting of directors and also the most underappreciated. "Dragnet" told a riveting murder mystery that transcended the TV series. "The D.I." was fairly realistic and daring for its' time (you can't fault it for being more mellow than most Marines films, this was 1957 people!)"-30-" was an interesting clash of styles set in the newspaper industry. With "Pete Kelly's Blues", Webb surrounds it with top notch talent (the cast includes Janet Leigh in an early role and recent Oscar winner Edmond O'Brien and future Oscar winner Lee Marvin)and turns in his most original and best work. If you love jazz, you get lots of it here and Webb shows that besides Clint Eastwood, he is one of the only directors able to understand jazz enough to successfully film it.
Webb deserved a Best Director nomination as well as a Best Picture nod (he also produced the picture; making him one of the first auteurs in film) In any case, "Pete Kelly's Blues" deserves to be treated as much more than a throwaway; it deserves respect and earns it from me. I think anyone will enjoy it though Webb fans will like it even more. You know who you are.
**** out of 4 stars
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