Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955)


“You don’t want to get married Pete; unless you find a girl that looks like a cornet. I’m short three valves. I might as well pack up an move someplace else. ” – Ivy

Number of Times Seen – 1 (2 Jun 2019)

Brief Synopsis – During Prohibition, a Jazz band Leader tries to play the local Kansas City clubs without casing problems with a local gangster who wants a cut of their earnings.

My Take on it – This is yet another film that is now part of the ever growing list of films with Oscar nominated performances that I had never heard of before going on this journey.

This is quite a mediocre gangster film and it doens’t work well at all.

Jack Webb was always great in Dragnet, but here he comes across as being just fine in the lead but I would have expected him to bring something greater to his performance and fails at doing so.

This, in turn, makes it even harder to care about him and his troubles both professionally and personally.

The story itself meanders along and instead of being fun and surprising, it’s quite predictable and unoriginal to the point where it feels like it’s a paint by numbers plot.

Peggy Lee received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her work here as a singer in the club who has trouble remaining sober.

It was nice to see Andy Devine and Lee Marvin in small yet significant roles.

Bottom Line – Pretty mediocre gangster film that doesn’t work that well. Webb is fine in the lead yet isn’t able to bring more to the role that would make us care even more about him or his troubles in work and in love. The story meanders along and feels a bit too paint by numbers from start to finish and is quite predictable throughout. Lee received an Oscar nomination for her work as a club singer who seems to be drunk most of the time.  Nice seeing Devine and Marvin in small yet significant roles.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Jack Webb actually knew how to play the cornet. He loved jazz music and, as a boy, was given a cornet by a musician who lived near his home. While he never truly mastered the instrument he knew it well enough that his handling and fingering of the cornet in this movie is accurate. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)

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One thought on “Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955)

  1. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actress – Oscars 1955 | MovieRob

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