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St. Louis Blues (1929) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • 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 dancers.


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Synopsis

  • Over the last century, there have been countless recordings and interpretations of The St. Louis Blues, a song written in 1914, and considered by many as the most important blues/jazz song ever written. This 16 minute film, one of the first music videos in history, was the attempt by the great W C Handy, composer of said song, to have it performed visually as well as musically exactly as he the composer had envisioned it. To perform it Mr. Handy hired Bessie Smith, possibly the most important female jazz/blues singer in history, who's recording of it in 1925 is considered one of the most important recordings in history. It opens with Bessie, drably dressed, looking for her man in an African-American speakeasy of the prohibition era. It is a decent sized place as there are assorted groups of couples sitting at tables and a big band playing in the background. "He" then enters the speakeasy flaunting a younger and more glamorous gal, is insulting to Bessie, and then leaves. Bessie then sits at the bar, singing a lamentation on the loss of her lover.

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