Will Handy grows up in Memphis with his preacher father and his Aunt Hagar. His father intends for him to use his musical gifts only in church, but he can't stay away from the music of the ...
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In this all-black cast short, legendary blues singer Bessie Smith finds her gambler lover Jimmy messin' with a pretty, younger woman; he leaves and she sings the blues, with chorus and ... See full summary »
The man called Obam struggles with the increasingly hostile forces facing each other in a colonial African country. The African natives want their land and lives back from the British ... See full summary »
A Broadway musical comedy star tires of the same old grind and flees the city. She runs into the skipper of a showboat who befriends her, and they make plans to put together a musical revue... See full summary »
In this sequel to "Knock On Any Door", the residents of a Chicago tenement building band together to insure that the son of Nick Romano does not follow in his father's footsteps...to the electric chair.
Will Handy grows up in Memphis with his preacher father and his Aunt Hagar. His father intends for him to use his musical gifts only in church, but he can't stay away from the music of the streets and workers. After he writes a theme song for a local politician, Gogo, a speakeasy singer, convinces Will to be her accompanist. Will is estranged from his father for many years while he writes and publishes many blues songs. At last the family is reunited when Gogo brings them to New York to see Will's music played by a symphony orchestra.Written by
Lisa Grable <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although uncredited, conductor of the finale C. Bakaleinikoff is billed on the poster outside the concert hall. See more »
Early in film, a man tells Handy to meet him "at the corner of Beale and Jackson at 4:00" to give him a job. Beale Street and Jackson Avenue do not intersect. Jackson is not straight, but it's more than a mile between them at their closest point. See more »
That's right, Reverend. Stick to your guns. You stick to them because, after all, prejudice is a time saver.
Rev. Charles Handy:
I... I beg your pardon?
Well, a busy man like you: You can form an opinion without wasting time bothering about facts.
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As long as the great old films are not on home video, we have to search far and long for the elusive cable broadcasts. Well I was pleasantly surprised to see this one air yesterday on Turner Classic Movies. A film that completely reversed the procedure so well known at MGM: keeping actors of color out of the plot of a film so as not to offend the patrons (and sponsors)of Southern movie theaters. Paramount Pictures took such a gamble in 1958 with this biopic of turn-of-the-century blues composer W. C. Handy, son of a rather rigid preacher man, whose musical gifts are repeatedly deflated and discouraged by said father (who believes such progressive music is only the work of shiftless sinners). The big surprise in this film is the warm, sensitive, and totally subdued performances of the majority of the film's lead cast: Nat 'King' Cole as the quiet Handy, Ruby Dee as his patient, waiting-in-the wings fiancée', and Eartha Kitt as a sassy and ambitious nightclub singer. Even Kitt's character- which would normally be presented as a two-dimensional 'bad girl' caricature, shows some interesting depth as she quietly champions Handy's blues and jazz compositions to be seen by a larger, more commercial, audience. The Alan Reisner direction often leans towards the melodramatic, and veterans Cab Calloway and Pearl Bailey aren't given much to do, but the film soars very nicely as a complete movie. Two honorable mentions must be made however, in the names of Mahalia Jackson- whose gorgeous voice can be heard several times in the church scenes as a choir mistress, and Ella Fitzgerald (perhaps my favorite solo singer of all time) who is featured in a *true* cameo appearance singing a single torch song in a nightclub which Handy happens by one evening. It makes one yearn for more early chances like this one, and makes me especially happy that these performers are archived- even in this small capacity- on motion picture film.
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