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 »
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 streets and workers. After he writes a theme song for a local politician, Gogo, a speakeasy singer, convinces Will to be her accompanist. Will is estranged from his father for many years while he writes and publishes many blues songs. At last the family is reunited when Gogo brings them to New York to see Will's music played by a symphony orchestra. Written by
Lisa Grable <firstname.lastname@example.org>
W.C. Handy's first successful composition was "Memphis Blues" but, because the producers couldn't obtain the rights to the song, his first successful song was presented in the film as being "Yellow Dog Blues", actually written several years later, after Handy had established himself. See more »
Late in the movie, Gogo runs into Elizabeth and explains she was just passing through St. Louis. The Hanleys live in Memphis. See more »
The life of W. C. Handy , the growing up and finding success part.
It's incredible to see all this talent in one place. It's too bad that afro-americans were not supported commercially in the 50's, this film then could have been easy to find. As it is, the big A doesn't carry (or even mention) it. The performances of eartha kitt and nat cole are pretty subdued, for the period of the piece. But ella fitzgerald swings nicely and pearl bailey has a good moment. As for over all film quality, it's a bit stiff ( e.g., nat cole dropping his cane and falling to his kness against the screen door mimics lou pinela tring to convince an umpire he touched home plate), probably a bit more from direction than lack of talent, and the plot , trite. Fortunately, it doesn't dwell very long on the angst between slices of musical venue. A collector's item and an historical document.
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