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 »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Blade
...
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
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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:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

7 April 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lamento Negro  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While the 85-year-old W.C. Handy served as a consultant on this film, he never lived to see it open. See more »

Goofs

Late in the movie, Gogo runs into Elizabeth and explains she was just passing through St. Louis. The Hanleys live in Memphis. See more »

Quotes

Gogo Germaine: That's right, Reverend. Stick to your guns. You stick to them because, after all, prejudice is a time saver.
Rev. Charles Handy: I... I beg your pardon?
Gogo Germaine: Well, a busy man like you: You can form an opinion without wasting time bothering about facts.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Afro Promo (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Friendless Blues
Music by W.C. Handy
Lyrics by Mercedes Gilbert
Sung by Eartha Kitt
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Loved it!
14 November 2006 | by (Paradise, California) – See all my reviews

I just watched this film after having recorded it with my DVR. I have a 64" TV. Wow!!!! If you can get the opportunity to see this film on a larger screen with a decent sound system, do it. I'll bet a lot of the wonderful aspects of this film are lost on a small screen.

First of all, in my opinion, the story line is just a frame to serve up the songs. Eartha Kitt is unbelievable in this film! She is gorgeous, sexy, absolutely delicious in the divine gowns she wears, has tons of character and personality, and sings like a diva. She played her racy character to the hilt in this and stole the show. Nat King Cole was, as always, smooth as silk on piano and vocals. Then to get the added treat of seeing Pearl Bailey, Mahalia Jackson, Ruby Dee, Cab Calloway and a host of extraordinarily talented blues musicians just made my day. There is even a shot of Nat King Cole gazing in to an open doorway and listening to Ella Fitzgerald!

This is a film in which the talent is so extraordinary, the songs so incredible, that it doesn't really matter whether Nat King Cole was a little shy. You'll be so blown away by the excellent music that you won't care whether the story line is well told or whether it is true - who cares? The opportunity to see this group of musicians is worth every minute of your time. That is, if you really love great blues music and talent.


6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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