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3.2
16 Ratings

Pete Kelly's Blues

Directed by Jack Webb
United States, 1955
Crime, Drama, Musical

Synopsis

In 1927 Kansas City, Pete Kelly and his jazz band play nightly at a speakeasy. A local gangster starts to move in on them and when their drummer is killed Kelly gives in, even though this also means taking the thug’s alcoholic girl as a singer.

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Pete Kelly's Blues Directed by Jack Webb

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1956 | Nominee: Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Critics reviews

Adapted from a short-lived radio series, Webb’s most elaborate movie, “Pete Kelly’s Blues,” newly out on an excellently digitalized Blu-ray from Warner Archive, is a major artifact of the Dixieland revival. This wide-screen, Warnercolor production may be longer on ambition than style but it is bookended by two notable set pieces — a traditional New Orleans jazz funeral with a tender regard for an extended trumpet solo and a many-vectored shootout beneath the mirrored ball of an empty dance hall.
November 21, 2014
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It seems that Webb was as passionate a jazz buff as Clint Eastwood, and this movie is at least as much of a labor of love as Bird. In his film essay Los Angeles Plays Itself, Thom Andersen compares Webb’s minimalist direction of Dragnet episodes to the direction of Ozu, but here the mise en scene is positively baroque in spots -– and beautifully composed.
February 16, 2007
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Strong (but not subtle) characterisation, coded dialogue, a flavourful sense of period and mise en scène which achieves something of a baroque quality rare in ’50s Hollywood (other examples include Touch of Evil, and parts of Johnny Guitar).
May 01, 2000
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