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Paris Blues

This reflects to some extent in form and technique the influence of the restless young Paris cinema colony, the environment in which the film was shot. But within its snappy, flashy veneer is an undernourished romantic drama of a rather traditional screen school.

With:
Paul Newman Joanne Woodward Sidney Poitier Louis Armstrong Diahann Carroll Serge Reggiani

This reflects to some extent in form and technique the influence of the restless young Paris cinema colony, the environment in which the film was shot. But within its snappy, flashy veneer is an undernourished romantic drama of a rather traditional screen school.

The screenplay, based on a novel by Harold Flender, relates the romantic experiences of two expatriate US jazz musicians (Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier) and two American girls (Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll) on a two-week vacation fling in Paris. The men fall in love with the girls, then must weigh their philosophies and careers against their amour.

The screenplay [from an adaptation by Lulla Adler] fails to bring any true identity to the four characters. As a result, their relationships are vague and superficial. The film is notable for Duke Ellington’s moody, stimulating jazz score. There are scenes when the drama itself actually takes a back seat to the music, with unsatisfactory results insofar as dialog is concerned. Along the way there are several full-fledged passages of superior Ellingtonia such as ‘Mood Indigo’ and ‘Sophisticated Lady’, and Louis Armstrong is on hand for one flamboyant interlude of hot jazz.

1961: Nomination: Best Scoring of a Musical Picture

Paris Blues

Production: Pennebaker/Diane. Director Martin Ritt; Producer Sam Shaw; Screenplay Walter Bernstein, Irene Kamp, Jack Sher; Camera Christian Matras; Editor Roger Dwyre; Music Duke Ellington; Art Director Alexandre Trauner

Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1961. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: Paul Newman Joanne Woodward Sidney Poitier Louis Armstrong Diahann Carroll Serge Reggiani

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