Paris Blues (1961)

Paris Blues
Directed by Martin Ritt
Written by Jack Sher, Irene Kamp, and Walter Bernstein; adapted by Lulla Rosenfeld from a novel by Harold Flender
Pennebaker Productions/Diane Productions/Jason Films/Monica Corp./Monmouth
First viewing/You Tube

Lillian Corning: You know, everybody’s always waiting for everybody else to take a chance because they’re so afraid!

Part romance, part travelogue, and part Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.  I guess I don’t have to tell you what I thought was the best part.

Ex-pat Ram Bowen (Paul Newman) leads a very popular jazz band in Paris.  He is working closely with saxophonist Eddie Cook (Sidney Portier) on orchestrations of his music. (Since he writes exactly like Duke Ellington, he is great at this too).

The arrival of two American tourists, Lillian (Joanne Woodward) and Connie (Dihann Carroll), throws a hitch in both men’s wild lifestyles.  With Armstrong as a famous trumpeter on tour in Paris.

The music is just fantastic and and, as usual, Armstrong is the best thing about any movie he is in.  The plot is kind of all over the place with race relations, patriotism, and Paris landmarks thrown in for good measure.  Newman and Woodward sizzle in their scenes together.

Duke Ellington was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture


4 thoughts on “Paris Blues (1961)

    • It’s worth it for the music if nothing else. But of course we have Newman at the peak of his considerable appeal and that ain’t chicken feed!

  1. “and that ain’t chicken feed!” says a peckish Little ChickaBea 😉

    OK, ya got me, on the list from me too. Thanks.

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