St. Louis Blues (1958)

Genres - Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature]  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Sandra Brennan

The life of legendary bluesman W.C. Handy is highly dramatized in this tuneful biopic. The story opens as his father, a minister chastises his son for playing "the devil's music." Despite his father's admonitions, Handy is drawn to the blues. He is encouraged by two disparate women, one an earthy singer from New Orleans and the other a good-hearted girl from his hometown whose main concern is Handy's happiness. Stress causes Handy to go blind for a while, but eventually he regains his sight, becomes famous for his music, and wins the respect of his father. The highlight of the film involves the performance of Handy's music by some of the great blues and jazz singers of the 1950s including Cole, Calloway, Jackson, and Fitzgerald. Songs include "Hesitating Blues," "Chantez Les Bas," "Beale Street Blues," (W.C. Handy), "Careless Love" (based on folk music by Handy; lyrics by Spencer Williams, Martha Koenig), "Morning Star," "Way Down South Where the Blues Began," "Mr. Bayle," "Aunt Hagar's Blues" (Handy; lyrics by Tim Brymn), "They that Sow" (hymn), and "Going to See My Sarah" (spiritual).



music, bishop, Black [race], blindness [physical], blues-music, composer, disapproval, fame, father, performer, respect, son, songwriter, spiritual, talent