Dick Cathcart, Nominee, Best Soundtrack Album, Background Score from Motion Picture or Television
Peggy Lee, Nominee, Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Senses of Cinema
Jazz and the movies, homegrown arts of America, virtually grew up together. Despite their different sociologies and marketing histories they underwent artistic diversification, developed their own expertise and legends, in roughly the same periods until the 1950s...Pete Kelly's Blues came along around the same time as Rebel without a Cause, The Blackboard Jungle (introducing something called 'rock'n'roll'), The Night of the Hunter (terrible music score!), Kiss Me Deadly, All that Heaven Allows, The Man with the Golden Arm. Movies that oozed masculine self-pity and indulged liberal fantasies had become big at the box office (The Wild One, On the Waterfront, etc.). Jack Jack Webb's second film as director (he had made Dragnet the previous year), Pete Kelly's Blues had a stoical hero (himself) and a story about an earlier way of life. It looked back to a disreputable hurly-burly past more in sorrow than in anger, not sweet enough to be labelled nostalgia...In the roaring twenties a struggling jazz band, white men playing black men's music (as the opening eloquently shows), settle into a regular gig at a Kansas City speakeasy...It was a brave and 'different' film for the mainstream, and in box office terms it didn't find its audience. As a director Webb returned to the snappy, tight-framed method which served him so well in another medium - the television series.
DVD, No Longer Produced
Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide
Recreates the 1920's jazz age and musicians involved...Peggy Lee, in a rare dramatic role, was nominated for an Academy Award.
Webb's understatement of his character is good and Peggy Lee scores a personal hit with her portrayal of a fading singer taken to the bottle.
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