Movie Picks | St. Louis Blues (1958)

Based on the life of early 20th-century blues composer and musician W.C. Handy, this film tells the story of the man widely considered the “Father of the Blues.” Will (Nat King Cole) is a talented composer who has a knack for churning out rockin’ blues grooves.

However, Will’s conservative father Reverend Charles Handy (Juano Hernandez) believes such music is sinful and refuses to accept Will’s musical ambitions. Much to the consternation of both his father and his wholesome sweetheart Elizabeth (Ruby Dee), Will joins up with nightclub singing siren Gogo Germaine (Eartha Kitt) to pursue his dream. When Will suddenly loses his eyesight and gives up the blues for writing and singing church hymns, those around him begin to question what is best for him. The inimitable Pearl Bailey plays Will’s Aunt Hagar, and the film also features appearances by other music luminaries such as Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, and Mahalia Jackson.

Directed by Allen Reisner
Screenplay by Ted Sherdeman, Robert Smith
Produced by Robert Smith
Released by Paramount Pictures

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