Paris Blues (1961)

Ram Bowen (Paul Newman) and Eddie Cook (Sidney Poitier) are a couple of American musicians living in Paris.  They each have their own reasons for living there instead of America.  In Paris, Eddie doesn’t face the kind of discrimination he would in America and Ram thinks living there is good for his career.  The two of them play in a nightclub, stay out all night, and Ram is hard at work writing a concerto.

The two of them are quite content with their lives, but that all changes when two American tourists, Lillian Corning (Joanne Woodward) and Connie Lampson (Diahann Carroll), come to Paris for a two-week vacation.  They meet up with Ram and Eddie and Ram starts dating Lillian and Eddie dates Connie.  However, Connie and Lillian don’t seem to share the guys’ enthusiasm for Paris.  Connie acknowledges that there may be less racial discrimination in Paris, but she wants to stay close to her roots in America.  And even though Ram has fallen in love with Lillian, he doesn’t want to leave his career opportunities behind to go to America with her.  Both men are left to choose which they love more — Paris or their girlfriends.

Paris Blues was pretty disappointing.  With a cast like this, I was definitely expecting something more substantial.  I just felt like there wasn’t a whole lot of meat to the story, nothing I could really grab hold of.  I think it had the potential to be something more and I could tell this movie really wanted to be something more, but it just didn’t quite hit the mark.  However, it isn’t a bad movie and it isn’t poorly acted, either, it’s just very middle-of-the-road.  All of the key actors have had finer moments.  I found myself being most interested in the soundtrack, which features a lot of great jazz music by Duke Ellington.  This is one of those movies that I’ll probably like to have playing in the background while I’m busy with something just because it’s so nice to listen to.

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3 comments

  1. That’s too bad about Paris Blues being disappointing. I’ve never seen it, but from the way you describe it, the story sounds like it had the potential to be a great movie. I hate it when movies with a fantastic premise turn out below par.

    1. It is too bad, because I think the potential really was there for it to be something great, especially with a cast like that, but the script just fell flat.

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