Sunday, August 25, 2019

VIVE LA FRANCE! Blogathon: Paris Blues (1961)


We are being swept up in a Bastille Day celebration with Patricia of Lady Eve's Reel Life and Christian of Silver Screen Modes. Click HERE and cheer Vive la France!



Paris is filled with Parisiens

Fans greet their idol, "Wild Man" Moore
Louis Armstrong

Parisiens who play and work at night, and sleep in the day. Parisiens who sleep at night, and play and work in the day. Flower sellers. Restauranteurs. Gypsies. Children. Musicians and lovers. Denizens of crowded basement jazz clubs and partiers on the fabled rooftops of the city.


Paris is filled with expats

Eddie Cook, Ram Bowen
Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman

Reed man Eddie Cook played by Sidney Poitier is at home in Paris. Here he is a musician. Back home he is a "black musician." Trombonist Ram Bowen played by Paul Newman has garnered a devoted fan following while pursuing a dream of becoming a serious composer, or is it a composer of serious music?


Paris is filled with tourists

Connie Lampson, Lillian Corning
Diahann Carroll, Joanne Woodward

Pretty teacher Connie Lampson played by Diahann Carroll is on a two week Paris vacation with her friend Lillian Corning played by Joanne Woodward, a divorced mother. They enjoy music.


Paris is filled with lovers

Connie Lampson, Eddie Collins
Diahann Carroll, Sidney Poitier

Ram was attracted to Connie upon meeting her. His piercing blue eyes and brooding manner were no weapon against the attraction between Connie and Eddie. The love developing between the teacher and the musician is complicated by deeply ingrained attitudes. Eddie has found his comfort zone in Paris. Connie believes Eddie is running away. She maintains her roots "home", back in the States. She believes you must make a stand and fight for rights. She wants Eddie to return and fight the good fight with her.

Lillian Corning, Ram Bowen
Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman

Ram's piercing blue eyes and brooding manner are like a magnet to Lillian. She is not willing to waste one moment of her vacation. Perhaps she sees what she wants to see in Ram. Love works that way sometimes.


Paris is a place where dreams come true, where dreams die and where dreams are reborn



Jazz bona fides

Louis Armstrong, Paul Newman, Duke Ellington

The score to Paris Blues features Duke Ellington arrangements of Duke Ellington music, with two tracks by Louis Armstrong. Paul Newman was coached on the trombone by Billy Byers and Murray McEachern played on the soundtrack. Paul Gonsalves played for Sidney Poitier.

The soundtrack album was nominated for the 1962 Grammy in the category Best Soundtrack Album or Recording or Score from Motion Picture or Television. The winner was Breakfast at Tiffany's, Henry Mancini.

Duke Ellington was nominated for an Oscar in the category Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture which was won by the team behind West Side Story. I feel he should have been more properly nominated for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture which was won by Henry Mancini for Breakfast at Tiffany's.

 


Background


Martin Ritt directed Paris Blues on location in Paris. This was Ritt's second film with Poitier following Edge of the City, the second of five with Newman, and final of four with Joanne Woodward.

The screenplay is based on a 1957 novel by Harold Flender. The main characters in the novel were Eddie and Connie with their romance and struggle with race a focus. The characters played by Newman and Woodward were secondary in the novel and much changed for the film. An early adaptation had changed the focus to two inter-racial romances. One can assume that a certain apprehension and an eye to box office spurred the film in its final form.

Paris Blues can be enjoyed on many levels; as a fine showcase for four star-powered actors, the atmosphere of its location filming, and for the music and the character played by the great Louis Armstrong.












38 comments:

  1. I want to comment on the name PARIS. There is PARIS HILTON who is famous for being famous. ZSA ZSA GABOR was once married to CONRAD HILTON. ELIZABETH TAYLOR was once married to NICKY HILTON, the son of CONRAD. PARIS has a sister NICKY who was named after their great-uncle.

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    1. I always associate Paris with the mythological Greek warrior who slew Achilles. It seems an odd name to bestow upon a daughter. Ah well, the rich are not like you and me.

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  2. I want to add that KIM RICHARDS and her younger sister KYLE are the aunts of PARIS & NICKY HILTON.(I know the Hiltons also have a brother.) The mother of Paris, etc. is named KATHY. KIM was a good actress when she was a girl. She played the younger sister on JAMES AT 15 starring LANCE KERWIN.(Lance was a good actor and what a cutie!) Kim also played the youngest daughter on HELLO LARRY which gets a bum rap for being a terrible show. MCLEAN STEVENSON played Larry. SHELLEY FABARES guest-starred once as the mother of the girls/Larrys ex-wife. JOANNA GLEASON was a regular on the show. Kim was in DISNEY movies and guest-starred on LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE as a new girl named OLGA. KYLE was on LITTLE HOUSE as ALICIA that MR. EDWARDS and his wife GRACE adopted along with her two brothers. PATRICIA NEAL played the biological mother of the SANDERSON kids. Her name was JULIA.

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    1. P.S. I want to mention that there is also PARIS JACKSON, the daughter of MICHAEL JACKSON and the niece of JANET JACKSON. Speaking of Janet she was on DIFFRENT STROKES as CHARLENE, the girlfriend of WILLIS. HELLO LARRY sometimes is mistakenly called a spin-off of DS. Hello Larry was already on TV when the powers that be decided to have that MR. DRUMMOND from DS was a friend of Larrys so they could have the DS people guest star on LARRY thinking it would help the show in the ratings.

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    2. I remember Kim Richards from the Disney movies and Nanny and the Professor. Haven't thought about her in years.

      Another Paris? Well, I guess there is some appeal to the name beyond cities and mythology.

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  3. Great choice CaftanWoman. This was a timely film and still has relevance andis noteworthy for its great acting and music. The Paris locale is both relevant to the story and is scenic. It depicts a Paris that has changed much, as has the era of the 1960s. Thank you for participating in the Vive la France blogathon with this classic film.

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    1. Thank you for hosting this inspiring blogathon. Without it, I might not have written about the film, and it was a pleasure.

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  4. The music is incredible in this film. Paris, jazz, Newman, Poitier, Woodward and Carroll what else can you ask for?

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  5. Paris Blues sounds like a good one, and I have not yet seen it. Your post makes me want to! So many good movies, so little time. Paul Newman, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington -- what's not to like?!
    Marianne

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    1. A very interesting mix of the story with the music, and the glorious location to top it all off.

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  6. I've been meaning to see this one, keeping en eye open to see if it's ever shown on TV here - I know it has already been shown. I'd like more if it involved two inter-racial couples, but I understnd why they decided to play it safe in the movie.
    Thanks for the kind comment!
    Kisses!

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    1. There are scenes in the movie which indicate they were going to go for the inter-racial storyline before backing off. It is still an intriguing movie with a unique atmosphere, and that music.

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  7. I've always found this film fairly irresistible: the cast, the storyline, the music - and the city of Paris in the '60s filmed in black and white. Had I ever run into a Paul Newman or Sidney Poitier in Paris I doubt I would've ever left.

    A great choice for Vive la France! and thanks for joining in.

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    1. Exactly! America (or whichever home) be danged! You couldn't drag me away!

      My pleasure. Thanks for hosting.

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  8. Love me some Martin Ritt. The music, as you say, is tres divine. This was the Paris of my youthful imagination. Lovely post, my friend.

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    1. Thank you.

      Yes. It is a world to step into, isn't it?

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  9. This sounds wonderful – the story, the music and, of course, Paris. The next time I'm looking for a virtual trip to Paris, I'll seek out this film. I loved the way you wrote this review.

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    1. Thanks so much.

      Paris Blues does pop up on TCM, just not as often as it should. Just let yourself melt into it.

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  10. Haven't seen this one. Thanks for posting! Great stuff!

    Carol

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    1. It is a unique movie. I think you'll enjoy it.

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  11. Great Review. Loved the music and Louie Armstrong. Can't remember anything else about it. Was there a plot?

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    1. Plot? Oh, just the mushy stuff. Good background for the music.

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  12. TOMMY SANDS turns 82 today. He was in the Disney movie BABES IN TOYLAND. In THE PARENT TRAP he and ANNETTE FUNICELLO sing the theme song at the beginning(but you don't see them). He guest-starred on some westerns. He was married to NANCY SINATRA from 1960 to 65 so FRANK SINATRA was his father-in-law for 5 years. According to imdb Tommys mother was a big band singer and his father was a pianist. The topic on this page has to do with music so this post sure fits in well!

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    1. I remember really enjoying Babes in Toyland when I was a kid. It feels a little overblown to me these days. Whenever I think of Tommy Sands I recall Bobby Darin's record of Beyond the Sea where he improvises "My lover stands on Tommy Sands" instead of "Golden Sands." Cheeky fellow.

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  13. EMMA SAMMS is 59 today. As you know she was on GH as HOLLY where she was part of two couples, I think. Holly and Robert and also Holly and Luke. Emma was on DYNASTY and THE COLBYS as was DIAHANN CARROLL and BARBARA STANWYCK! Ive only seen a little of Dynasty in reruns and I don't know THE COLBYS but they sure had a good roster of stars. I remember reading that PATRICIA CROWLEY and RICHARD ANDERSON were on DYNASTY as a married couple. I really like those two stars. Pat Crowley sometimes makes me think of BARBARA RUSH. I don't mean I think they look a lot alike but they are both very elegant and I like their voices. They are both very good actresses.

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    1. I agree that Pat Crowley and Barbara Rush are indeed two very classy ladies. Pat Crowley also starred in the General Hospital spinoff, Port Charles.

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  14. I remember seeing EMMA SAMMS on a preview of a daytime soap event at least 12 years ago and she looked great with a new short haircut. Besides PEYTON PLACE, I read that BARBARA RUSH was in a story on ALL MY CHILDREN with TAD MARTIN when he had amnesia. Tad was played by MICHAEL E. KNIGHT. Knight will soon be on.....GENERAL HOSPITAL. They haven't told what the name of the character is yet. JAMES PATRICK STUART(VALENTIN) is a real-life friend of Michael.

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    1. I'm not familiar with Knight, not having been an All My Children fan. Unlike some fans, I always enjoy a new character on a program.

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  15. According to imdb KNIGHT did a few eps of ONE LIFE TO LIVE as TAD MARTIN. One was in 2002 and 4 were in 2005. Also he did a MURDER, SHE WROTE ep THE CLASSIC MURDER(1992) with LOUISE LATHAM & JESSICA TUCK. (I didn't see that one.) Im sure you recall Jessica from ONE LIFE TO LIVE as VIKIS daughter MEGAN who was paired up with JAKE(JOE LANDO). She was recently on GH as CASSANDRA.

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    1. Jessica Tuck has recently returned to General Hospital. She is always a fascinating actress.

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  16. MICHAEL E. KNIGHT was married to soap actress CATHERINE HICKLAND for 14 years. Catherine was first married briefly to her high-school sweetheart in 1978(according to imdb). Then she married DAVID HASSELHOFF of KNIGHT RIDER fame. They were married from 1984 to 89. David played MICHAEL KNIGHT on KNIGHT RIDER then Catherine married an actor named MICHAEL KNIGHT! Her fourth husband is TODD FISHER, the son of DEBBIE REYNOLDS & EDDIE FISHER. He, of course, is also the brother of CARRIE FISHER. Later this year Catherine & Todd will be married 7 years.

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  17. Do you recall MISS HICKLAND from OLTL? I saw her on CAPITOL where she played JULIE CLEGG. Her parents were played by MARJ DUSAY & RICHARD EGAN. Her mother-in-law was played by CONSTANCE TOWERS and her grandfather-in-law by RORY CALHOUN. Did you know much about CATHERINES marital history?

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    1. I do recall Catherine Hickland on One Life to Live. I haven't followed her personal life.

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  18. You're right: Paul Newman's eyes are startling, even in black and white. I thoroughly enjoyed the music and Louis Armstrong, but I do wish they'd stuck with the original idea of inter-racial romances.

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  19. I bet that big "if only" haunted Ritt and the others involved. Nonetheless, thy made a thoroughly professional and engrossing film; just not what it could have been.

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  20. Love this movie, the cast and your post! Terrific choice for the event and a reminder that I must revisit this soon.

    Aurora
    Once Upon a Screen

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    1. Thank you. It was a pleasure to write about Paris Blues. I had forgotten how much appeal it has.

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