IMDb > Pete Kelly's Blues (1955)
Pete Kelly's Blues
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Pete Kelly's Blues (1955) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
6.6/10   610 votes »
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View company contact information for Pete Kelly's Blues on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
31 July 1955 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
A jazz-man of the wide-open '20s - caught in the crossfire of its blazing .38s! See more »
Plot:
In 1927 Kansas City Pete Kelly and his jazz band play nightly at a speakeasy. A local gangster starts... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 nomination See more »
NewsDesk:
(4 articles)
Martin Scorsese's 15 Favorite Gangster Flicks
 (From Cinematical. 9 September 2010, 6:15 PM, PDT)

Reese Witherspoon set to play Peggy Lee in Nora Ephron's biopic
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 10 August 2010, 3:47 AM, PDT)

Actress Janet Leigh Dies at 77
 (From IMDb News. 4 October 2004)

User Reviews:
Shaking Down The Musicians In Prohibition Kansas City See more (28 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jack Webb ... Pete Kelly

Janet Leigh ... Ivy Conrad

Edmond O'Brien ... Fran McCarg

Peggy Lee ... Rose Hopkins

Andy Devine ... George Tenell

Lee Marvin ... Al Gannaway

Ella Fitzgerald ... Maggie Jackson

Martin Milner ... Joey Firestone
Than Wyenn ... Rudy Shulak
Herbert Ellis ... Bedido (as Herb Ellis)
John Dennis ... Guy Bettenhouser

Jayne Mansfield ... Cigarette Girl
Mort Marshall ... Cootie Jacobs
Moe Schneider ... Band member (Big 7)
George Van Eps ... Guitarist (Big 7)
Ray Sherman ... Band member (Big 7)
Matty Matlock ... Band member (Big 7)
Eddie Miller ... Band member (Big 7)
Nick Fatool ... Drummer (Big 7)
Jud De Naut ... Bassist (Big 7)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Don Abney ... Piano Player (uncredited)
Perry Bodkin ... Tuxedo Band Member (uncredited)

Nesdon Booth ... Squat Henchman (uncredited)
Teddy Buckner ... Cornet Soloist (uncredited)
Dick Cathcart ... Trumpet Player / Webb's Cornet Double (uncredited)
Harper Goff ... Tuxedo Band Banjo Player (uncredited)
Jester Hairston ... Mourner, Pre-Credit Sequence (uncredited)
Jimmie Horan ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Donald Kerr ... Drunk in Speakeasy (uncredited)
William Lazeras ... Dako (uncredited)
Hank Mann ... Argumentative Husband in Speakeasy (uncredited)

Harry Morgan ... (uncredited)

'Snub' Pollard ... Waiter (uncredited)
Herman S. Saunders ... Pianist at Jazz Club (uncredited)
Joe Venuti ... Tuxedo Band Member (uncredited)

Directed by
Jack Webb 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Richard L. Breen 

Produced by
Jack Webb .... producer
 
Original Music by
David Buttolph (uncredited)
Ray Heindorf (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Harold Rosson  (as Hal Rosson)
 
Film Editing by
Robert M. Leeds 
 
Production Design by
Harper Goff 
 
Art Direction by
Feild M. Gray  (as Feild Gray)
 
Set Decoration by
John Sturtevant 
 
Costume Design by
Howard Shoup 
 
Makeup Department
Gordon Bau .... makeup artist
Stanley E. Campbell .... makeup artist (as Stanley Campbell)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Harry D'Arcy .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Leslie G. Hewitt .... sound
Dolph Thomas .... sound
 
Stunts
Helen Thurston .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
James Potevin .... chief set electrician
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Gene Martin .... wardrober
 
Music Department
Matty Matlock .... music arranger: Pete Kelly's Big 7
Teddy Buckner .... musician: cornet (uncredited)
Larry Bunker .... musican: drums (uncredited)
Frank Comstock .... conductor (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Harry B. Friedman .... publicist (uncredited)
William Guthrie .... location chief (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
95 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Warnercolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.55 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording) (magnetic prints) | Mono (RCA Sound Recording) (optical prints)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
"Pete Kelly's Blues" was originally a radio series created by Richard L. Breen and starring Jack Webb. It ran on NBC as a summer replacement series from July 4 to September 19, 1951. It later became a short-lived TV series ("Pete Kelly's Blues" (1959)), produced by Webb.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Oh, Didn't He RambleSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
6 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Shaking Down The Musicians In Prohibition Kansas City, 6 March 2009
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

The background of the Prohibition Era of Tom Pendergast's Kansas City in the Twenties at its height is the setting for the story of Pete Kelly's Blues. Jack Webb's crisp documentary like style honed by years of doing Dragnet on television is the manner in which Pete Kelly's story of resistance to the mob is told. All Webb in the title role wants to do is play jazz, but playing jazz in mobbed up Kansas City came at a price.

The one who wants the payoff is political ward boss/gangster Edmond O'Brien. He's got the swinging part of Kansas City in his pocket where all the speakeasies and clubs are and he's thought of a new racket, charge protection to the musicians, even to the extent of moving their own legitimate agents out. And O'Brien wants 25% not the usual 10% real agents charge.

Webb's defiant, cowed, and then defiant again during the course of the film. The murder of his drummer Martin Milner takes a lot of the fight out of him. But O'Brien pushes way too hard and he's a really crude sort of thug. In the end Webb snaps.

With one exception the cast is great. The music end is taken by two really great singers Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee who have some great numbers that show why they were the best in their business. Lee even copped an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, but lost to Jo Van Fleet for East Of Eden. Lee Marvin is here and not playing a thug, but is a clarinetist and Webb's best friend. Webb plays the trumpet. Andy Devine is law enforcement and deadly serious. The squeaky voice is moderated and Andy's bulk is used similarly to Laird Cregar in I Wake Up Screaming and Orson Welles in Touch Of Evil. Andy never had a role this serious on screen. And Peggy Lee even with that Oscar nomination never followed up on it, my guess being she thought of herself as a singer not an actress primarily.

Janet Leigh who usually is great disappoints me here. Her role as an air-headed party girl is really out of place and why Webb is falling for her is a mystery. Later on she nearly gets him killed when he finally decides to face down O'Brien. Janet does her best, but the part makes no sense at all to me.

The locale of Pete Kelly's Blues in Pendergast controlled Kansas City is interesting. O'Brien is just the kind of guy Pendergast would have as a lieutenant. Pendergast's name is not mentioned, in 1955 it didn't have to be. The recent president of the United States, Harry S. Truman was a product of that machine and that was never out of the public's mind even after Pendergast was dead.

Dixieland jazz fans will really like the music from Pete Kelly's Blues, I certainly did along with the rest of the film.

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