Pete Kelly's Blues

1955

Action / Crime / Drama / Music

19
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 43%
IMDb Rating 6.5 10 918

Synopsis


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Downloaded 6,967 times
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Director

Cast

Janet Leigh as Ivy Conrad
Jayne Mansfield as Cigarette Girl
Lee Marvin as Al Gannaway
720p.BLU
753.20 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 35 min
P/S 0 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by JohnHowardReid 10 / 10

A masterpiece!

Considering all the hype with which the medium was promoted, the early days of CinemaScope brought very few cinema masterpieces. "Pete Kelly's Blues" is one of those few.

By masterpiece, I don't just mean superlatively entertaining. "Broken Lance" fills that bill, but it's not the sort of movie you can see over and over again, each time re-living the emotions of the characters and soaking up the atmosphere. The master script has an astringency, the master movie has a pace and flair that survive endless repetition. There is a special poignancy about the acting, a unique vigor in the direction, an artistic harmony in the images, a soul-searching vibrancy in the music. It's a movie with something to say, even if its philosophy can only be expressed in the most general terms, for example "Evil is ultimately defeated by Right" (Pete Kelly), "Romance and sentiment triumph over war and corruption" (Casablanca).

With its jazz-age soundtrack complementing its prohibition-era Kansas City visuals, "Pete Kelly's Blues" provides a rich aural and visual experience that can be turned on whenever a CinemaScope print can be threaded through a projector. (Obviously it's a waste of time watching the movie on the old standard TV screen). I don't know whether any attempt was made to duplicate actual Kansas City locales, and I don't care. The movie has its own atmosphere, its own ambiance, its own moody plays of light and shade.

The appropriately glum but practical, cynical, wavering but finally rock-solid Webb is ideally cast in the title role. On the other hand, despite her second billing, Janet Leigh's part is comparatively small and not particularly memorable, but she performs her chores admirably all the same. It's Edmond O'Brien, Peggy Lee, Lee Marvin, Ella Fitzgerald, Andy Devine (forsaking his usual comic antics), and most surprising of all, the bumptious Martin Milner (here perfectly cast) that join Webb in contributing some really unforgettable portraits.

And on the soundtrack — Webb's cornet dubbed by the brilliant Dick Cathcart — such now nostalgic standards as "Pete Kelly's Blues" (Sammy Cahn, Ray Heindorf, sung by Ella Fitzgerald), "Sing Me a Rainbow", "He Needs Me" (Arthur Hamilton), "Somebody Loves Me", "Sugar" (Maceo Pinkard, Sidney Mitchell, Edna Alexander, all sung by Peggy Lee), "I Never Knew" (Gus Kahn, Ted Fiorito), "Hard-Hearted Hannah" (Jack Yellen, Milton Ager, Bob Bigelow, Charles Bates, sung by Ella Fitzgerald), "Bye, Bye Blackbird" (Mort Dixon, Ray Henderson), "What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry" (Walter Donaldson, Abe Lyman), "Oh, Didn't He Ramble" (Bob Cole, Will Handy), "Breezin' Along With the Breeze" (Haven Gillespie, Seymour Simons, Richard Whiting), "Gonna Meet My Sweetie Now".

In all, however, this movie is not just a feast for jazz fans, it's a top-of-the-post drama in any man's league.

Reviewed by Lonixcap 5 / 10

Pete Kelly tangled in Webb of bad acting.....

I just watched this on Turner Classic Movies the other night after not having seen it in years, back when it was a pan-and-scan version loaded with commercials.

It was great seeing it uncut and commercial-free in it's original letterboxed CinemaScope format. Director Jack Webb shows a creative visual imagination, and along with cameraman Hal Rosson he creates some decent period atmosphere, despite the limits of those early widescreen lenses. This would have been better in the old 3-strip Technicolor format, but that's really splitting hairs.

The thing with this picture that never gets it off the ground is Jack Webb, the actor. He's just not believable as a jazzman. Despite Ella Fitzgerald, who is tremendous, and Peggy Lee, somewhat wasted in this role (in more ways than one) Webb is wooden and one-dimensional. Maybe Monty Clift or even Jeffrey Hunter would have been better. James Dean would have made this into a classic, despite the hackneyed storyline of musicians having to pay the mob to keep their gig.

That plot point should have been a given, with the musicians doing their gig and paying the mob and playing their music against the backdrop of jazz age 1920's.

This movie needed less plot and more atmosphere, and a better leading man. Webb the actor sinks this one.

Reviewed by kapelusznik18 5 / 10

The horn blows at midnight

****SPOILERS*** Jack Webb riding high in his "Dragnet" TV series fans out here as a "Just the Music Mame" clarinet jazz musician Pete Kelly coupled as a crime fighter, like his Sgt. Joe Friday, in battling the mob headed by the whale like mobster Fran "Francis" McCarg, Edmond O'Brien. It's McCarg who's attempting to take control of Kelly's "Big Seven Band" working out of "Rudy's Speakeasy" in downtown Kansas City as well as all the other big bands in the Mid-West. That by McCarg forcing him to pay, 25% of the take, homage to him and his homeboys or else get his arms & legs broken. Acting at first like a tough cop instead of a sensitive clarinet player Kelly change his act when his drummer boy Joey Firestone, Martin Milner, who refuses to give into Mcarg's demands is gunned down by his boys one rainy evening leaving "Rudy's" to dry out after an all night binge of heavy boozing.

Kelly now giving into McCarg's demands has his entire band start to check out on him for better pastures, or gigs, in the east which includes his fellow clarinet player Al "Gunny" Gunnaway, Lee Marvin. It's Gunnaway who takes Kelly's lucky mouthpiece, in revenge for breaking up that band of his, for his clarinet that he once gave him as a present.

Living in limbo with no futures in the music or band business to speak of by being controlled by McCarg Kelly gets his big break when McCarg slips up by beating his girlfriend singer Rose Hopkins, Peggy Lee, almost into a coma. That by Rose, who was too drunk, being unable to belt out a song at the nightclub she was preforming in making him, who kept saying what a big hit she is, look ridicules.

***SPOILERS*** Kelly soon finds out that Rose now mentally damaged with the mind of a five year old has information about Firedtone's murder that can send McCarg, who ordered it, straight to the electric chair! The ending is something like a scene out of "Gunfight at the OK Corral" with Pete and his girlfriend ivy, Janet Leigh, who just came along for the ride confront McCarg and his henchmen in this empty ballroom for a final dance. It's interesting to see how Jack Webb can pull all this off going from a crime fighter in "Dragnet" to a jazz clarinet player in "Pete Kelly's Bules" and does a fairly good job in doing it. It's just that the public warn't ready to see Webb change horse in mid-stream which had him go back to playing Sgt. Joe Friday for the rest of his career until the early 1970's with only one film "-30-" in between!.

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