Pete Kelly’s Blues


(out of 5)

Jack Webb directs and stars in this atmospheric drama about the seedy side of nightclub life. He is the leader of a struggling jazz band in the roaring twenties who are leaned on by a tough gangster () to make money for him as an “agent”. Since resistance results in death, Webb and his troupe play along, meanwhile he is romanced by a wealthy flapper girl with no sense of responsibility (a miscast ) and is moved by the plight of O’Brien’s miserable, alcoholic girlfriend (an excellent ). The film’s plotting is too minor to make it wholly memorable, but the performances, music and photography are first-rate.   makes a rare acting appearance and, while delivering dialogue isn’t her forte, her voice is, as expected, at the top of its class. Look for  in an early bit as a waitress.

Mark VII Ltd.

USA, 1955

Directed by 

Screenplay by 

Cinematography by 

Produced by Jack Webb

Music by ,

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1955



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