7.2/10
492
17 user 5 critic

St. Louis Blues (1958)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Music | 7 April 1958 (USA)
Will Handy grows up in Memphis with his preacher father and his Aunt Hagar. His father intends for him to use his musical gifts only in church, but he can't stay away from the music of the ... See full summary »

Director:

Allen Reisner
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Nat 'King' Cole ... W.C. Handy
Eartha Kitt ... Gogo Germaine
Cab Calloway ... Blade
Ella Fitzgerald ... Singer
Mahalia Jackson ... Bessie May
Ruby Dee ... Elizabeth
Juano Hernandez ... Rev. Charles Handy
Teddy Buckner ... Musician
Barney Bigard Barney Bigard ... Musician
George 'Red' Callender ... Musician
Lee Young Lee Young ... Musician
George Washington George Washington ... Musician
Billy Preston ... Will Handy as a boy
Pearl Bailey ... Aunt Hagar
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Storyline

Will Handy grows up in Memphis with his preacher father and his Aunt Hagar. His father intends for him to use his musical gifts only in church, but he can't stay away from the music of the streets and workers. After he writes a theme song for a local politician, Gogo, a speakeasy singer, convinces Will to be her accompanist. Will is estranged from his father for many years while he writes and publishes many blues songs. At last the family is reunited when Gogo brings them to New York to see Will's music played by a symphony orchestra. Written by Lisa Grable <grable@unity.ncsu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The glitter and glory story of the man whose rhythm and blues beat became all America's heartbeat!

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 April 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lamento Negro See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nat 'King' Cole's only lead role in a major Hollywood film. See more »

Goofs

Early in film, a man tells Handy to meet him "at the corner of Beale and Jackson at 4:00" to give him a job. Beale Street and Jackson Avenue do not intersect. Jackson is not straight, but it's more than a mile between them at their closest point. See more »

Quotes

Aunt Hagar: Well, what is it?
[she looks at the paper]
Aunt Hagar: Nine hundred dollars!
W.C. Handy: [he reads the letter] For phonograph records of 'Careless Love'. Do you think this money's evil?
Aunt Hagar: What I think and what your Papa think are two different things. Your Papa thinks the only true riches are in Heaven.
W.C. Handy: It's nice to have a little pocket money while we're waiting to get there!
See more »

Connections

Edited into Afro Promo (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

He That Sows In Tears
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by Mahalia Jackson and chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Easily one of the best films I've ever seen!
20 January 2008 | by amron-3See all my reviews

Thanks to TCM for showing this extraordinary and constantly surprising film, one this film-lover was completely unaware of. It has everything to delight: the incredible line-up of musical super-stars in the first place, and the subtle but strong acting performances from each member of such a glittering cast (whether in a major or supporting role, as if part of a repertory company) did so much to delineate the fine story values that had social impact and tugged at the heart. The shining glimpses of greatness never ceased to entertain and astonish all the senses (ear, mind, eye . . .) in this gem of a film that has rarely been equaled from this musician's perspective.


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