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Pete Kelly's Blues (1955)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Music | 31 July 1955 (USA)
In 1927, a Kansas City, Missouri cornet player and his band perform nightly at a seedy speakeasy until a racketeer tries to extort them in exchange for protection.

Director:

Jack Webb
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Webb ... Pete Kelly
Janet Leigh ... Ivy Conrad
Edmond O'Brien ... Fran McCarg
Peggy Lee ... Rose Hopkins
Andy Devine ... George Tenell
Lee Marvin ... Al Gannaway
Ella Fitzgerald ... Maggie Jackson
Martin Milner ... Joey Firestone
Than Wyenn Than Wyenn ... Rudy Shulak
Herbert Ellis Herbert Ellis ... Bedido (as Herb Ellis)
John Dennis ... Guy Bettenhouser
Jayne Mansfield ... Cigarette Girl
Mort Marshall Mort Marshall ... Cootie Jacobs
Moe Schneider Moe Schneider ... Trombonist (Big 7)
George Van Eps George Van Eps ... Guitarist (Big 7)
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Storyline

In 1927 Kansas City Pete Kelly and his jazz band play nightly at a speakeasy. A local gangster starts to move in on them and when their drummer is killed Kelly gives in, even though this also means taking the thug's alcoholic girl as a singer. Kelly soon realises he has made a big mistake selling out in this way and that rich girl Ivy is now the only decent thing in his life. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All the Drama...Color...Glamor of the Exciting Jazz-Mad 20's!...with its great music, flappers, quick money! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 July 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Es geschah in einer Nacht See more »

Filming Locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,000,000, 31 December 1955
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mark VII Ltd. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording) (magnetic prints)| Mono (RCA Sound Recording) (optical prints)

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Pete Kelly's Blues" was originally a radio series created by Richard L. Breen and starring Jack Webb. It ran on NBC as a summer replacement series from July 4 to September 19, 1951. It later became a short-lived TV series (Pete Kelly's Blues (1959)), produced by Webb. See more »

Quotes

Ivy Conrad: You don't want to get married Pete; unless you find a girl that looks like a cornet. I'm short three valves. I might as well pack up an move someplace else.
See more »

Connections

Spin-off Pete Kelly's Blues (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Pete Kelly's Blues
Music by Ray Heindorf
Lyrics by Sammy Cahn
Performed by Ella Fitzgerald
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Music and gangsters collide in the roaring 20's.
4 February 2002 | by Mickey-2See all my reviews

"Pete Kelly's Blues" gave Jack Webb a chance to direct and star in this film that compliments his close, tight, factual emphasis on the characters and the story. It's a no-nonsense film that combines some good musical moments with the times of the roaring 20's, when the gangs were determined to make money in every venture, or cause the venture to cease to exist. Such is the situation for Pete Kelly and his jazz band.

Kelly, played by Webb, enjoys the fact that his band can pretty much come and go as they see fit, perform, collect their fees, and move on to other clubs, other towns. They are good at what they do, and a local gangster, played to the hilt by Edmond O'Brien, sees a chance to move in. He tells Kelly that the band must allow his new girl a chance to perform, plus give him a sizable cut of their appearance money. The singer, played by Peggy Lee, just wants to get a start in show business, and O'Brien wants to control her start on a career. The film moves to an eventual expected climax, but the ending for Peggy Lee is not a happy one.

The cast included Janet Leigh, Andy Devine, Lee Marvin (a good guy role), and Ella Fitzgerald, who contributed some moving tunes in her own special style. Peggy Lee did garner an Oscar for best supporting actress, and it was deserved.

A film piece that deserves more than one chance viewing.


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