Paris Blues

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Paris Blues
ParisBlues UnitedArtists.jpg
Directed by Martin Ritt
Produced by Sam Shaw
Written by Walter Bernstein, Irene Kamp, Jack Sher, Harold Flender (novel), Lulla Rosenfeld (adaptation)
Starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Sidney Poitier, Louis Armstrong, Diahann Carroll
Music by Duke Ellington
Cinematography Christian Matras
Edited by Roger Dwyer
Production
  company
United Artists
Release date(s) 27 September 1961 (USA)
Running time 98 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Paris Blues (1961) is an American feature film made on location in Paris, starring Sidney Poitier as expatriate jazz musician Eddie Cook, and Paul Newman as trombone-playing Ram Bowen.[1][2] The two men romance two vacationing American tourists, Connie Lampson (Diahann Carroll) and Lillian Corning (Joanne Woodward) respectively. The film also deals with American racism of the time contrasted with Paris's kinder treatment of African Americans. The film was based on the 1957 novel of the same name by Harold Flender.[3]

The film also features trumpeter Louis Armstrong (as Wild Man Moore) and jazz pianist Aaron Bridgers; both play music within the film. It was produced by Sam Shaw, directed by Martin Ritt from a screenplay by Walter Bernstein, and with cinematography by Christian Matras. Paris Blues was released in the U. S. on September 27, 1961.

Cast[edit]

  • Paul Newman as Ram Bowen
  • Joanne Woodward as Lillian Corning
  • Sidney Poitier as Eddie Cook
  • Louis Armstrong as Wild Man Moore
  • Diahann Carroll as Connie Lampson
  • Barbara Laage as Marie Séoul
  • André Luguet as René Bernard
  • Marie Versini as Nicole
  • Moustache as Mustachio the drummer
  • Aaron Bridgers as Pianist
  • Guy Pederson as Bass Player
  • Serge Reggiani as Michel "Gypsy" Devigne
  • Emilien Antille as Man with alto sax in jazz cave when Armstrong enters
  • Roger Blin as Fausto the moor
  • Charles Bouillaud as Luggage carrier in train
  • Michel Dacquin as Guest at Devigne's party
  • Hélène Dieudonné as The Pusher
  • Michel Garland as Club 33 customer
  • René Hell as Man with dog in the park
  • Jo Labarrère as Club 33 customer
  • Jack Lenoir as Club 33 waiter
  • Frank Maurice as Luggage carrier on the platform
  • Niko as Ricardo
  • Michel Portal as Musician
  • Claude Rollet as Club 33 customer
  • Albert Simono as Guest at Devigne's party
  • André Tomasi as Club 33 bartender
  • María Velasco as Pianist
  • Dominique Zardi

Soundtrack[edit]

Paris Blues
Soundtrack album by Duke Ellington
Released 1961
Recorded May 2 & 3, 1961
Genre Jazz
Label United Artists
Duke Ellington chronology
The Great Summit
(1961)
Paris Blues
(1961)
First Time! The Count Meets the Duke
(1961)

Paris Blues is a soundtrack album by American pianist, composer and bandleader Duke Ellington, recorded and released on the United Artists label in 1961 and reissued on Rykodisc in 1996 with additional dialogue from the film and the film trailer on CD-ROM.[4] It features performances by Ellington's Orchestra with Louis Armstrong guesting on two tracks.

Ellington was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture.

Reception[edit]

The Allmusic review by Scott Yanow awarded the album 3 stars and stated: "Although not a classic, Paris Blues (both the film and the soundtrack) is worth owning by jazz collectors".[5] A review in Jazz Times by Stanley Dance, however, was quite critical of the release stating: "both movie and music, in my opinion, were disappointing examples of how too many cooks spoil the broth... for the main NYC sessions, no less than five drummers were brought in, who lamentably failed to swing the big band as the absent Sam Woodyard could have done all by himself. One of the few moments of truth occurs in the finale, "Paris Blues," when Johnny Hodges is briefly heard".[6]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[5]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions by Duke Ellington except as indicated

  1. "Take the "A" Train' (Billy Strayhorn) - 2:14
  2. "You Know Something?" - 0:24
  3. "Battle Royal" - 4:31
  4. "Bird Jungle" - 1:59
  5. "What's Paris Blues?" - 0:45
  6. "Mood Indigo" (Ellington, Barney Bigard, Irving Mills) - 3:15
  7. "Autumnal Suite" - 3:14
  8. "Nite" - 3:32
  9. "Wild Man Moore" - 1:49
  10. "Paris Stairs" - 3:05
  11. "I Wasn't Shopping" - 0:21
  12. "Guitar Amour" - 2:02
  13. "A Return Reservation" - 0:33
  14. "Paris Blues" - 5:53
  • Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York on May 2 & 3, 1961.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Variety film review; September 27, 1961, p. 7.
  2. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; September 23, 1961, p. 150.
  3. ^ "Paris Blues by Harold Flender" (review), Kirkus.
  4. ^ A Duke Ellington Panorama accessed May 14, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Yanow, S. Allmusic Review accessed May 14, 2010.
  6. ^ Dance, S. Paris Blues Soundtrack Review, Jazz Times, March 1999.

External links[edit]