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directed by Jack Webb
USA 1955


The story opens in Kansas City in 1927 during Prohibition. Jazz cornetist Pete Kelly (Webb) and his Big Seven are the house band at the 17 Club, a lower-level speakeasy at 17 Cherry Street in Kansas City when Pete is approached by new local crime boss Fran McCarg (Edmond O'Brien), who intends to put Kelly on his own client list. McCarg gives Kelly until the end of the night to talk it over with the band and to “make up his mind”.

Before the night ends, Rudy, the overly-efficient manager of the 17 Club, orders Kelly and the band to go to the house of Ivy Conrad (Janet Leigh), a woman with a reputation for hosting exceptionally rowdy parties and who, we find out early on, has designs on Kelly. Reluctantly, Kelly arrives at the party expecting to hear from McCarg via phone, but when the call comes through, it’s intercepted by Kelly’s hot-tempered drummer Joey Firestone (Martin Milner), who, in a drunken stupor, blatantly turns McCarg down, telling him to “go get a ticket to nowhere”. McCarg promptly gets the word out as one of his cronies runs Kelly and his band off the road as they drive back to Kansas City.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE


Theatrical Release: 31 July 1955 (USA)

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video - Region 1 2, 3, 4 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Warner Home Video

Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC

Runtime 1:35:18

2.52:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.50 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles English, French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.52:1

Edition Details:
• Gadgets Galore short (10:37)
• The Hole Idea short (6:50)

DVD Release Date: July 22, 2008
Keep Case

Chapters 28



Having reviewed Jack Webb's -30- recently, I picked up Pete Kelly's Blues, released in DVD back in 2008. This 1955 picture was based on Jack Webb's earlier radio series and would later be adapted into 1959 TV series with William Reynolds playing Pete Kelly. The disc went out of print and has been unavailable for some time, but now it became available again and can be found at some stores, including Amazon. This is a great jazz movie with some wonderful performances by Edmond O'Brien, Lee Marvin and Peggy Lee (who was nominated for an Academy Award as best actress in a supporting role). Great Ella Fitzgerald sings two songs in the film, so the film is highly recommended to any jazz fan.

The disc is single-layered disc and progressive in its proper cinemascope aspect ratio with lively colors and no damage visible on the print. 4-track stereo soundtrack has been remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds excellent. Optional English and French subtitles are provided and 2 shorts from the same year (1955), but not related to the feature are provided. Unfortunately, a theatrical trailer introduced by Jack Webb himself is not available on the disc, although a squeezed version can be seen on YouTube (HERE).

  - Gregory Meshman


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Warner Home Video

Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC


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