Ram Bowen and Eddie Cook are two expatriate jazz musicians living in Paris where, unlike America at the time, Jazz musicians are celebrated and racism is a non-issue. When they meet and ... See full summary »
Loosely based on the William Faulkner novel, this movie follows the lives and passions of the Compsons: a once-proud Southern family now just barely scraping by both financially and ... See full summary »
Ram Bowen and Eddie Cook are two expatriate jazz musicians living in Paris where, unlike America at the time, Jazz musicians are celebrated and racism is a non-issue. When they meet and fall in love with two young American girls, Lillian and Connie, who are vacationing in France, Ram and Eddie must decide whether they should move back to America with them, or stay in Paris for the freedom it allows them. Ram, who wants to be a serious composer, finds Paris more exciting than America and is reluctant to give up his music for a relationship, and Eddie wants to stay for the city's more tolerant racial atmosphere. Written by
Although Duke Ellington received an Academy Award nomination for Best Music, Scoring a Musical Picture, this film is not a musical, but rather a romantic drama in a jazz-music setting. See more »
When Louis Armstrong and his band come into the club, the patrons are clapping to the wrong beat. The clapping on the pre-recorded soundtrack is on the second and fourth beats, while the patrons are seen clapping on the first and third beats. See more »
I'd like to give you a going away present. You may not like it, but I don't care. It's just this: you're never gonna forget me. You're gonna walk down the street of wherever you happen to be, you're gonna see me, even when you know I'm not there. And nobody is ever gonna be as right for you as I was for twelve days in Paris in the autumn 'cause that was your gift to me.
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"The Frenchmen's all prefer what they call, le jazz hot."
The American in Paris theme has been done very often in American cinema. The tradition is huge splashy technicolor with Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Jane Powell, Audrey Hepburn cavorting around the well known streets and landmarks. Those are nice films, but that ain't what you get here.
No Louvre, no Arc de Triomphe, no Eiffel Tower, a brief shot of Notre Dame from a distance; that's about it from the well known Paris. The Paris we see here in this black and white film is of the jazz clubs of the Left Bank where two expatriate musicians, Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier, eke out a living doing what they love.
Newman has ambitions though, he'd like to be a serious composer not a trombonist all his life. Poitier has come to Paris for reasons of the race problems in the USA.
Into their lives two American tourists come, Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll. A couple of dual romances commence.
Carroll and Poitier have a spirited debate over civil rights. The movement is getting into high gear in America and Carroll wants him to return and be part of it. No thanks, says Poitier, he just wants to do his jazz thing where his skin color isn't anyone's problem least of all his own.
Interestingly Carroll was doing a kind of warm up for another part of a black woman in Paris on Broadway the following year in Richard Rodgers, No Strings. In that play she falls for an expatriate writer played by Richard Kiley. An interracial romance, one of the first shown on the Broadway stage, still a lot of the same issues were in that show.
Paris Blues is a different slice of Parisian life for an American film to explore. All four leads do just fine, though the film probably doesn't rank in the top work of any of them.
Lots of jazz music for the aficionado. And of course the presence of the incomparable Louis Armstrong. The highlight of the film is the jam session with those two ersatz musicians Newman and Poitier.
The way Satchmo is received by the public only proves the truth of that line he sang in High Society about the way the French love American jazz.
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