Jazz on a Summer's Day (1960)

78, 81 or 85 mins | Documentary | March 1960

Full page view
HISTORY

All of the cast credits are listed in the opening credits, while all the crew credits appear at the end of the film. The print viewed included a 1960 copyright notice for Raven Films, Inc., but the picture was not registered for copyright protection at the time of its original release. The copyright catalog includes a 1987 registration for Raven, number RE-369-888. An opening title card reads: "This film was photographed in Newport R.I. during the Jazz Festival and the American Cup Trials." Musician Jimmy Giuffre's name was misspelled as "Guiffre" in the opening credits. Eli's Chosen Six was a Yale student jazz band. Although onscreen credits list De Luxe color, most contemporary sources refer to the color process as Eastman Color.
       Jazz on a Summer's Day was shot at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, which was held over the Fourth of July weekend. The concert was produced by George Wein. The film marked the only feature for producer-director Bert Stern, who was a commercial advertising and magazine photographer. According to a Feb 1960 NYT article, Stern was invited by the Newport Film Festival's founder, Louis Lorillard, to shoot there. Sources vary as to the original footage length, cost and time spent editing. The NYT article states that, shooting from a "script," Stern procured 130,000 feet of film over six days, which took six months to edit. Time reported in May 1960 that the film was shot in four days, and cost $210,000. According to a Mar 1960 feature in Down Beat , Raven Films sponsored the production, but Stern used much of his own money to finish it, ... More Less

All of the cast credits are listed in the opening credits, while all the crew credits appear at the end of the film. The print viewed included a 1960 copyright notice for Raven Films, Inc., but the picture was not registered for copyright protection at the time of its original release. The copyright catalog includes a 1987 registration for Raven, number RE-369-888. An opening title card reads: "This film was photographed in Newport R.I. during the Jazz Festival and the American Cup Trials." Musician Jimmy Giuffre's name was misspelled as "Guiffre" in the opening credits. Eli's Chosen Six was a Yale student jazz band. Although onscreen credits list De Luxe color, most contemporary sources refer to the color process as Eastman Color.
       Jazz on a Summer's Day was shot at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, which was held over the Fourth of July weekend. The concert was produced by George Wein. The film marked the only feature for producer-director Bert Stern, who was a commercial advertising and magazine photographer. According to a Feb 1960 NYT article, Stern was invited by the Newport Film Festival's founder, Louis Lorillard, to shoot there. Sources vary as to the original footage length, cost and time spent editing. The NYT article states that, shooting from a "script," Stern procured 130,000 feet of film over six days, which took six months to edit. Time reported in May 1960 that the film was shot in four days, and cost $210,000. According to a Mar 1960 feature in Down Beat , Raven Films sponsored the production, but Stern used much of his own money to finish it, at an overall cost of $250,000.
       The Down Beat article added that a crew of twenty-three faced myriad problems endemic to shooting a live concert, including the need for special soundtrack equipment. To solve this, Allan Green developed an elaborate stereophonic sound system synchronized to the cameras. Stern stated they "tried to show the form and beauty of jazz by the various devices, such as wave and water effects, children playing and reflections." Although the Var review adds Duke Ellington and Count Basie as songwriters, it has not been determined which of their songs were included in the final film.
       Interstitials were shot around Newport and, according to a modern source, on Long Island. On 26 Feb 1959, DV announced that Stern had finished a 90-minute cut and was discussing a release deal with "a number of major distributors." At that time, he planned to hold the film's premiere in conjunction with the Jul 1959 Newport Jazz Festival. Jazz on a Summer's Day had its world premiere in Aug 1959 at the Venice Film Festival, where it played out of competition, at a running time of 78 minutes.
       The reviews were uniformally laudatory, with Var asserting: "Pic is doubtlessly one of the greatest films on jazz ever made....It's Americana, and a document of its time as well." NYT critic Bosley Crowther stated that although "it lacks fundamental structure and the clear dramatic form that one may reasonably expect...this picture has an easy, rhythmic flow.... Mr. Stern is obviously an artist." In 1985, LAWeekly called the picture "the first great film of American music." Jazz on a Summer's Day was remastered and released on DVD in 2000 at a running time of 84 minutes. The Newport Jazz Festival was also featured in the 1956 M-G-M musical High Society (see above). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
13 Jun 1960.
---
Daily Variety
26 Feb 1959.
---
Daily Variety
23 Aug 1960
p. 4.
Down Beat
17 Mar 1960
pp. 18-19.
Filmfacts
1960
pp. 75-76.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 1960.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 1960
p. 3.
LAWeekly
5 Jul 1985.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 Mar 1960
p. 613.
New York Times
14 Feb 1960.
---
New York Times
29 Mar 1960
p. 46.
New York Times
10 Apr 1960.
---
New York Times
30 Jul 2000.
---
Time
23 May 1960.
---
Variety
16 Sep 1959
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Film by Bert Stern
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
In charge of prod
WRITERS
Scr and cont
Scr and cont
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr girl
Scr girl
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Train and the River" by Jimmy Giuffre, performed by the Jimmy Giuffre Trio
"Blue Monk" by Thelonius Monk, performed by Thelonius Monk
"Blue Sands" by Buddy Collette, performed by the Chico Hamilton Quintet
+
MUSIC
"Train and the River" by Jimmy Giuffre, performed by the Jimmy Giuffre Trio
"Blue Monk" by Thelonius Monk, performed by Thelonius Monk
"Blue Sands" by Buddy Collette, performed by the Chico Hamilton Quintet
"Tiger Rag" by Original Dixieland Jazz Band, performed by Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars
"Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home?" by Hughie Cannon
"Dixieland" and "Tannenbaum," traditional, performed by Eli's Chosen Six
"Blues," composer undetermined, performed by Sonny Stitt
"Catch as Catch Can," composer undetermined, performed by the Gerry Mulligan ensemble
"Rondo," by George Shearing, performed by the George Shearing ensemble.
+
SONGS
"Sweet Georgia Brown," words and music by Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard and Kenneth Casey, sung by Anita O'Day
"Tea for Two," words by Irving Caesar, music by Vincent Youmans, sung by Anita O'Day
"All of Me," words and music by Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks, sung by Dinah Washington
+
SONGS
"Sweet Georgia Brown," words and music by Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard and Kenneth Casey, sung by Anita O'Day
"Tea for Two," words by Irving Caesar, music by Vincent Youmans, sung by Anita O'Day
"All of Me," words and music by Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks, sung by Dinah Washington
"I Ain't Mad at You," words and music by Howard A. Adderly, sung by Big Maybelle
"Sweet Little Sixteen," words and music by Chuck Berry, sung by Chuck Berry
"Rockin' Chair," words and music by Hoagy Carmichael, sung by Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden
"Lazy River," words and music by Hoagy Carmichael, performed by Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars
"When the Saints Go Marchin' In," words by Katherine E. Purvis, music by James M. Black, performed by Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars
"Shout All Over God's Heaven," words and music by Charles B. Johnson, sung by Mahalia Jackson
"Didn't It Rain?" spiritual, sung by Mahalia Jackson
"The Lord's Prayer," words traditional, music by Albert Hay Malotte, sung by Mahalia Jackson
"Baby Please Don't Go," composer undetermined, sung by Big Maybelle
"All Night Long," composer undetermined.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1960
Premiere Information:
World premiere at the Venice Film Festival: August 1959
New York opening: 28 March 1960
Production Date:
July--August 1958
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
De Luxe
Duration(in mins):
78, 81 or 85
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

This documentary depicts many of the musicians performing at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. The filmmakers follow the events of the two-day festival, documenting performances by such jazz luminaries as Chuck Berry, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington, Chico Hamilton and Thelonius Monk. To illustrate the free-form jazz songs and instrumentals, shots of ocean waves, children playing and the audience are interwoven with concert footage. Scenes from the American Cup yacht race trials are also depicted. Brief sequences of the artists at rest accompany the shots of their performances. The film ends with Mahalia Jackson singing a spiritual and "The Lord's ... +


This documentary depicts many of the musicians performing at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. The filmmakers follow the events of the two-day festival, documenting performances by such jazz luminaries as Chuck Berry, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington, Chico Hamilton and Thelonius Monk. To illustrate the free-form jazz songs and instrumentals, shots of ocean waves, children playing and the audience are interwoven with concert footage. Scenes from the American Cup yacht race trials are also depicted. Brief sequences of the artists at rest accompany the shots of their performances. The film ends with Mahalia Jackson singing a spiritual and "The Lord's Prayer." +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.