Birth of the Blues

Birth of the Blues

Director: Victor Schertzinger Cast: Bing Crosby, Mary Martin, Brian Donlevy


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Rather shaky as history, Birth of the Blues delivers the goods in terms of entertainment, thanks to the unbeatable star combination of Bing Crosby and Mary Martin. Set in New Orleans in the 'teens, the film stars Crosby as clarinetist Jeff Lambert, who breaks away from a traditionalist orchestra to form his own jazz band. His partners in this endeavor are songstress Betty Lou Cobb (Martin) and trumpeter Memphis (Brian Donlevy), a character obviously meant to be a white-bread version of Louis Armstrong. Inspired by the rhythms heard amongst the African American population of Louisiana, Jeff, Betty Lou and Memphis rise to fame and fortune, but internal jealousies and external gangster threats seriously compromise their success. An added complication is the presence of cute little orphan girl Phoebe (Carolyn Lee), Betty Lou's aunt, whom Jeff is obliged to hide from the child-welfare behemoths. Eddie "Rochester" Anderson is in his element as Jeff's long-suffering general factotum Louey, whose near-death experience towards the end of the story results in one of film's most powerful musical vignettes. The 14 songs heard in Birth of the Blues range from such classics as "St. Louis Blues" and "St. James Infirmary" to such newly-minted ditties as Johnny Mercer's "The Waiter, the Porter and the Upstairs Maid."

Product Details

Release Date: 10/01/2019
UPC: 0191329031704
Original Release: 1941
Rating: NR
Source: Universal Mod
Time: 1:26:00
Sales rank: 36,733

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bing Crosby Jeff Lambert
Mary Martin Betty Lou Cobb
Brian Donlevy Memphis
Carolyn Lee Aunt Phoebe Cobb
Eddie "Rochester" Anderson Louie
J. Carrol Naish Blackie
Jack Teagarden Pepper
Warren Hymer Limpy
Ruby Elzy Ruby
Barbara Pepper Maizie
Danny Beck Deek
Harry Barris Suds
Harry Rosenthal Piano player
Donald Kerr Skeeter
Victor Potel Trumpet player
Minor Watson Henri Lambert
Ronnie Cosbey Jeff (as a boy)
Cecil Kellaway Mr. Granet
Horace McMahon Wolf

Technical Credits
Victor Schertzinger Director
Lee Brown Songwriter
Lew Brown Songwriter
Walter de Leon Screenwriter
Buddy G. DeSylva Songwriter,Producer
Robert Emmett Dolan Score Composer,Songwriter,Musical Direction/Supervision
Hans Dreier Art Director
Gus Edwards Songwriter
Ernst Fegte Art Director
W.C. Handy Songwriter
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Ray Henderson Songwriter
William C. Mellor Cinematographer
Johnny Mercer Songwriter
Harry Tugend Songwriter,Screenwriter
Paul Weatherwax Editor

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