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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>
If you can only see one existential noir gangster musical...
What a weird brew this one is! The toughness of a gangster pic, the existential malhereuse of a trendy European epic, the fine '20s sounds of a period musical, all in Warners wide screen. Webb's production design is arty and interesting, and Lee Marvin is really, really good in a supporting role. There's terse, snappy dialogue that sounds like it's out of a much later movie, and a killer finale that clearly influenced Coppola, Scorsese, and practially every other showy director of that generation.
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