St. Louis Blues (1958) - Rotten Tomatoes

St. Louis Blues (1958)

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Movie Info

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).

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Cast

Nat 'King' Cole
as W.C. Handy
Eartha Kitt
as Gogo Germaine
Pearl Bailey
as Aunt Hagar
Mahalia Jackson
as Bessie May
Ruby Dee
as Elizabeth
Juano Hernandez
as Charles Handy
Billy Preston
as W.C. Handy as a Boy
Teddy Buckner
as Musician
Barney Bigard
as Musician
Lee Young
as Musician
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