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Paris Blues
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10 from 1,643 votes
Release: 27 September 1961 (USA) /

Paris Blues

Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
Director: Martin Ritt,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Ram Bowen and Eddie Cook are two expatriate jazz musicians living in Paris where, unlike the US at the time, Jazz musicians are celebrated and racism is a non-issue. When they meet and fall in love with two young American girls, Lillian and Connie, who are vacationing in France, Ram and Eddie must decide whether they should move back to the US with them, or stay in Paris for the freedom it allows them. Ram, who wants to be a serious composer, finds Paris too exciting and is reluctant to give up his music for a relationship, and Eddie wants to stay for the city's more tolerant racial atmosphere. Written by alfiehitchie

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Critic Reviews


Within 2 years of "Paris Blues" being released the US involvement in Vietnam began to sour the relationship between America and la rive gauche. French intellectuals affected to disdain the United States and all its works;one of the few aspects of Americana that were permitted to be still admired was jazz music. Even so the myth of the American jazz musician as a god-like figure had faded by the mid sixties.Giants like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were still revered but the journeymen jazzers like Ram Bowen(Newman)no longer filled the clubs just because they were American. The Indian Summer of America's honeymoon with Europe peaked with "Paris Blues".

Beautifully shot in black and white in the quintessentially Parisian parts of the city where the 2 pairs of lovers could stroll hand in hand photogenically it was a love letter to the arondissements beloved of Scott Fitzgerald,Hemingway and Gertrude Stein 30 years after the affair had ended.

Paul Newman was never more charming,Sidney Poitier never more cool and self-effacing;their pairing considered quite daring at the time coming just a few years after the ground-breaking "The Defiant Ones". Duke Ellington wrote the score and his "Mood Indigo" is beautifully played by Murray McCeachern.Louis Armstrong plays himself - why his character is named Wild Man Moore one can only speculate.

I saw "Paris Blues" when I was 20 years old and my love affair with jazz was a its height. Looking at it now it doesn't seem all that special,the characters and situations have all become clichés;but perhaps that's a bit like saying "Hamlet"'s a good play but it's full of quotations.

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