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The Gene Krupa Story (1959)

The story of legendary jazz drummer, Gene Krupa. Since his youth, all Gene ever wanted to do is play the drums and make music. This is something his parents would not approve of- they want ... See full summary »




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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »


Complete credited cast:
Gene Krupa
Ethel Maguire
Eddie Sirota
Dorissa Dinell
Gloria Corregio
Lawrence Dobkin ...
Speaker Willis
Red Nichols ...
Anita O'Day ...
Davey Tough


The story of legendary jazz drummer, Gene Krupa. Since his youth, all Gene ever wanted to do is play the drums and make music. This is something his parents would not approve of- they want him to be a priest. When Gene's father dies he promises to enter the priesthood. He soon realizes that he doesn't belong there and leaves to join his friend, Eddie's band. Ethel, Eddie's girlfriend, convinces Gene to go to New York and make it big. The 3 of them head to New York. Here Ethel and Gene soon fall in love and Gene makes a name for himself. Gene starts to live in the fast lane, with drugs, alcohol, women and parties. Ethel, unhappy with Gene's lifestyle, leaves him. Gene soon "hits rock bottom" where he has to face reality and choose where to take his life. Written by Kelly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

band | drugs | drummer | jazz | seminary | See All (32) »


The Pounding Story of a Jazz Great! See more »


Biography | Drama | Music


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Release Date:

December 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jazz-Ekstase  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


When the film opened in Krupa's hometown of Chicago at the Schiller Theatre on January 15, 1960 both Gene Krupa and Sal Mineo were on hand to greet the public and sign "fan fotos." See more »


In the final scene, when Krupa makes his comeback appearance with Tommy Dorsey's band, the set he's playing changes in the close-ups from the front left. The high hat cymbals are in a different position, and the tom tom to his left disappears completely. See more »


Gene Krupa: Who's the singer?
Dorissa Dinell: Anita O'Day.
Gene Krupa: She's good.
Dorissa Dinell: Not bad - if you like talent.
See more »


Featured in Police Story: The Broken Badge (1978) See more »


On the Sunny Side of the Street
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Sal Mineo Goes Drum Crazy Over Gene Krupa
12 December 2010 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

In 1927 Chicago, gum-chewing Italian teenager Sal Mineo (as Gene Krupa) wants to be a professional drummer, but his family would rather he become a priest. He tries the latter, but Mr. Mineo can't keep his hands off of the drumsticks. He makes it big, with trumpet-swinging best pal James Darren (as Eddie Sirota) and pretty girlfriend Susan Kohner (as Ethel Maguire) in tow. Then, at the height of his fame, Mineo gets bitten by the drug bug. He succumbs to sexy Susan Oliver (as Dorissa Dinell) and is busted for possession of "reefer" (marijuana). Can Mineo battle his way back to the top?

The four stars above - plus young Yvonne Craig (as Gloria) - have some sexy scenes, with clothing hugging their curves.

The subject of "The Gene Krupa Story" receives an on-screen credit, and dubs Mineo's drumming. Their audio-visual collaboration is sometimes amazing, with Mineo frantically following Mr. Krupa's licks. This story of a musician's rise and fall may seem very formulaic, but the sex and drug road trip really happens; it's certainly a well-worn path. Unfortunately, there isn't much distinction in this story. Mineo never ages (Krupa's drug bust was in 1943), obvious hits like "Let Me Off Uptown" and "Sing, Sing, Sing (with a Swing)" are omitted, and the 1950s fashion clearly trumps the fabricated 1920s look.

****** The Gene Krupa Story (12/23/59) Don Weis ~ Sal Mineo, James Darren, Susan Kohner, Susan Oliver

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