The Gene Krupa Story (1959)

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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 »
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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:

1.37 : 1
See  »

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 scene between Gene and Ethel, right after Gene's mother argues with him in the speakeasy about the priesthood, Ethel's small handbag on the table is closer to her on the close-in shots than it is on the longer shots. See more »


[Gene is offered a marijuana cigarette]
Gene Krupa: Reefers huh? So that's what they look like.
See more »


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


Let There Be Love
Music by Lionel Rand
Lyrics by Ian Grant
Sung by James Darren
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Gene Krupa recast as Sputnik Teen Idol.
2 May 2007 | by See all my reviews

Competent, slick and well photographed, but fairly banal treatment of the famous drummer.

Almost no attempt is made to visually set the story in the twenties and thirties. Thus, the film abounds in an abundance of visual anachronisms, including fifties architecture, decor, and clothing, (Misses Kohner and Craig wear Dior style shirtwaist dirndls throughout, whilst Miss Oliver wears Capri style cocktail pants!--nowhere is there a cloche hat, aigrette or dropped waist). Only slight sartorial concessions are made for the men, (a few bowler hats and double breasted vests)

These inaccuracies no doubt accrue from the fact that the picture is being pitched wholesale to the 1959 teen audience and not to their parents.

For his part, Mr. Mineo does exceedingly well, though at times he does lapse into hipster posturing, (in his finger pointing angry scenes he appears to be imitating Ben Gazzara). Given his extreme youth, however, he demonstrates more poise and depth than his teen idol peers. The only really embarrassing moments come when he is depicted as a cassock clad seminarian in prayer.

If nothing else, this film provides your only chance to see Sal Mineo in spats.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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