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 »

Director:

Reviews

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Anna Lucasta (1958)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Young woman struggling with a sordid past finds her biggest enemy had larger Demons than her.

Director: Arnold Laven
Stars: Eartha Kitt, Sammy Davis Jr., Frederick O'Neal
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Biography of Jackie Robinson, the first black major league baseball player in the 20th century. Traces his career in the negro leagues and the major leagues.

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Jackie Robinson, Ruby Dee, Minor Watson
New Orleans (1947)
Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

New Orleans - with Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Woody Herman

Director: Arthur Lubin
Stars: Arturo de Córdova, Dorothy Patrick, Marjorie Lord
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Young lawyer meets and marries girl after knowing her one day. Takes bride home to meet his mother who disapproves of the marriage. Lawyer thinks everything will be fine as he moves up the ... See full summary »

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Carole Lombard, James Stewart, Charles Coburn
The Loved One (1965)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Satire on the funeral business, in which a young British poet goes to work at a Hollywood cemetery.

Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Robert Morse, Jonathan Winters, Anjanette Comer
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Liz and Merry Noel become friends as college roommates and their friendship endures over the years. Liz becomes a respected "serious" novelist. Merry Noel marries, has a daughter and writes... See full summary »

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Jacqueline Bisset, Candice Bergen, David Selby
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

The man called Obam struggles with the increasingly hostile forces facing each other in a colonial African country. The African natives want their land and lives back from the British ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Audley
Stars: Eartha Kitt, Sidney Poitier, Juano Hernandez
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Set on a fictitious island in the Carribean during colonial British rule, it focuses on the life of a young charismatic and handsome black male with political aspirations. He finds himself ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Rossen
Stars: James Mason, Joan Fontaine, Dorothy Dandridge
Short | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In this all-black cast short, legendary blues singer Bessie Smith finds her gambler lover Jimmy messin' with a pretty, younger woman; he leaves and she sings the blues, with chorus and ... See full summary »

Director: Dudley Murphy
Stars: Bessie Smith, Jimmy Mordecai, Isabel Washington
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Alexander Graham Bell falls in love with deaf girl Mabel Hubbard while teaching the deaf and trying to invent means for telegraphing the human voice. She urges him to put off thoughts of ... See full summary »

Director: Irving Cummings
Stars: Don Ameche, Loretta Young, Henry Fonda
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

"Dakota," a young soldier on a pass in New York City, visits the famed Stage Door Canteen, where famous stars of the theatre and films appear and host a recreational center for servicemen ... See full summary »

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Cheryl Walker, William Terry, Judith Anderson
Istanbul (1957)
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A suspected diamond smuggler returns to Istanbul and finds the lady love he thought was dead...or does he?

Director: Joseph Pevney
Stars: Errol Flynn, Cornell Borchers, John Bentley
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Singer
...
Bessie May
...
Elizabeth
Juano Hernandez ...
Rev. Charles Handy
Teddy Buckner ...
Musician
Barney Bigard ...
Musician
George 'Red' Callender ...
Musician
Lee Young ...
Musician
George Washington ...
Musician
...
Will Handy as a boy
...
Aunt Hagar
Edit

Storyline

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 <grable@unity.ncsu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The glitter and glory story of the man whose rhythm and blues beat became all America's heartbeat!

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 April 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lamento Negro  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

Early in film, a man tells Handy to meet him "at the corner of Beale and Jackson at 4:00" to give him a job. Beale Street and Jackson Avenue do not intersect. Jackson is not straight, but it's more than a mile between them at their closest point. See more »

Quotes

Gogo Germaine: You're about to hear some facts Reverend.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Steal Away To Jesus
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by Mahalia Jackson and chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Very Moving
4 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I found the father-son estrangement contrived along conventional religion vs the devil lines, but moving nonetheless. I had forgotten what a good piano player Nat Cole was. Ertha Kitt is the heart of the film. She acts as she sings -- biting, precise, and all-knowing. I think the great Pearl Bailey is wasted here -- wonderful as the Aunt, but we only hear her singing a snippet of the title song. Cab Calloway was also much more talented than permitted to be here. I saw him as "Sportin' Live" in the post-WW II revival of "Porgy and Bess." We get a too brief taste of the great clarinet player, Barney Bigard, and an anachronistic appearance by Ella Fitzgerald singing "Beale St. Blues." The film provides a good definition of the blues as an authentic American musical and poetic form. This one, almost 50 years old now, has aged well. It makes one regret that more African-American based and performed films were not made when these great stars were available. Thanks again, TCM!


12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
When does this come on again? one-highlander
St. Louis Blues natalyn-jones
Is it on DVD? tarheel370
Avaiable on Youtibe steven_torrey
Did the hockey team get their name from this movie? kittylove15
Discuss St. Louis Blues (1958) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?