Pete Kelly's Blues


Gangster films

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Time Out says

Opens stunningly with a New Orleans jazz funeral which puts the similar sequences in Young Man with a Horn and Imitation of Life to shame both musically and atmospherically. Perhaps a little too pedantic in its recreation of Kansas City speakeasies during Prohibition days, and inclined to strain after effect in its depiction of gangster violence (the final shootout in a deserted dance hall, with coloured lights flashing and player piano rattling away, is just a shade too much). Enormously likeable all the same as one of the few films to take jazz seriously. The soundtrack, with Ella Fitzgerald a real knockout as she sings 'Hard Hearted Hannah' and the title song, is a treat.


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Release details

UK release:



95 mins

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