16 user 5 critic

The Gene Krupa Story (1959)

Biopic of famous jazz drummer, Gene Krupa, who becomes a sensation but cannot handle success and life in the fast lane and ends-up broke, struggling with drugs and alcohol.


Don Weis


Orin Jannings
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Sal Mineo ... Gene Krupa
Susan Kohner ... Ethel Maguire
James Darren ... Eddie Sirota
Susan Oliver ... Dorissa Dinell
Yvonne Craig ... Gloria Corregio
Lawrence Dobkin ... Speaker Willis
Celia Lovsky ... Mother
Red Nichols ... Self
Bobby Troup ... Tommy Dorsey
Anita O'Day ... Self
Shelly Manne ... Davey Tough
Buddy Lester ... Self


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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Did You Know?


Sal Mineo (Gene) and Susan Kohner (Ethel), previously appeared together in "Dino" (1957). See more »


In the final scene, when Krupa makes his comeback appearance with Tommy Dorsey's band, the set he's playing changes in the close-ups from the front left. The high hat cymbals are in a different position, and the tom tom to his left disappears completely. See more »


[first lines]
Father: How many times am I going to tell you?
Gene Krupa: Papa.
Father: How many times? Banging on pots and pans and garbage can covers wasn't enough noise for you. And driving us all crazy by playin' on the washboard with mother's thimble. That was not enough noise either.
Gene Krupa: But it doesn't have to be noise. There's music in drums, Papa. I know there is.
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Featured in Police Story: The Broken Badge (1978) See more »


Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
Music by Turner Layton
Lyrics by Henry Creamer
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User Reviews

Great Mineo portrayal
19 November 1999 | by david-340See all my reviews

Not historially accurate, but a great portrayal by Sal Mineo. He worked with Krupa for about 2 years before filming began. The only real flaw is that the music is a 1950's version of 1930's swing/jazz, and none of Krupa's hits of the 40's were really included. Nonetheless, the music is very good, with Mineo mimicing extremely accurately Krups's off screen drumming.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

December 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Drummer Man See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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