Saturday, August 13, 2016

Billie Holiday in New Orleans

One of the movies I watched last weekend was New Orleans, which I don't think is in print on DVD. The plot is trite. Rich, white, classically-trained girl comes to New Orleans; hears the new sound (jazz in this case; the movie is set in 1917); falls in love with it despite the protestations of polite society; complications ensue.

The white part of the plot is not only trite but not particularly well done. The movie, however, is saved by the presence of Louis Armstrong as the talent for the white club-owner; Holiday makes her one feature film appearance as a maid who can sing the blues. Here's one of their scenes together to give you a taste of their talent.

Armstrong was charismatic enough that he probably could have played comic relief or a sidekick if he wanted to do real acting work. Holiday's performance doesn't give much indication either way, but then, she really isn't called on to do much acting. There's one or two scenes as a maid and then the songs she sings.

The movie is currently available in whole on Youtube, although I think it's still under copyright.

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