New Orleans (1947)

89 mins | Musical | 18 April 1947

Director:

Arthur Lubin

Producer:

Jules Levey

Cinematographer:

Lucien Andriot

Production Designer:

Rudi Feld

Production Company:

Majestic Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

Louis Armstrong is listed twice in the opening credits, once as "Louis Armstrong and his band" and once as a member of the New Orleans Ragtime Band. The opening credits include a "grateful acknowledgement" to the National Jazz Foundation based in New Orleans for its assistance in the production of the picture. New Orleans marked the first and only feature film appearance by renowned blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday. The Var review commented about musician Louis Armstrong's acting: "...'Satchmo' Armstrong is the star of the film, proving as solid in a generous dramatic role as he is on the trumpet." Portions of the film were shot on location in New Orleans, LA, including the front steps of the city hall building, which, as reported in the NYT , had remained unchanged since 1917. According to a HR news item, musical director Nat Finston organized a group called the Ensemble Symphonique to record the music for the film.
       A soundtrack album of the film was released in 1983 and included complete versions of the songs performed in the film, as well as numbers that were omitted from the final release. Among the many numbers found on the album are "Tiger Rag" by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band; "Milenberg Joys" by Leon Rappolo, Paul Mares and "Jelly Roll" Morton; "King Porter Stomp" by "Jelly Roll" Morton; "Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble" by Spencer Williams ; "Basin Street Blues," music and lyrics by Spencer Williams ; "Beale Street Blues," music by Chris Smith, lyrics by Jim Burris ; and "Dipper Mouth Blues," music by Joe "King" Oliver, lyrics by Walter Melrose.
       New Orleans was the last Hollywood film produced ... More Less

Louis Armstrong is listed twice in the opening credits, once as "Louis Armstrong and his band" and once as a member of the New Orleans Ragtime Band. The opening credits include a "grateful acknowledgement" to the National Jazz Foundation based in New Orleans for its assistance in the production of the picture. New Orleans marked the first and only feature film appearance by renowned blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday. The Var review commented about musician Louis Armstrong's acting: "...'Satchmo' Armstrong is the star of the film, proving as solid in a generous dramatic role as he is on the trumpet." Portions of the film were shot on location in New Orleans, LA, including the front steps of the city hall building, which, as reported in the NYT , had remained unchanged since 1917. According to a HR news item, musical director Nat Finston organized a group called the Ensemble Symphonique to record the music for the film.
       A soundtrack album of the film was released in 1983 and included complete versions of the songs performed in the film, as well as numbers that were omitted from the final release. Among the many numbers found on the album are "Tiger Rag" by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band; "Milenberg Joys" by Leon Rappolo, Paul Mares and "Jelly Roll" Morton; "King Porter Stomp" by "Jelly Roll" Morton; "Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble" by Spencer Williams ; "Basin Street Blues," music and lyrics by Spencer Williams ; "Beale Street Blues," music by Chris Smith, lyrics by Jim Burris ; and "Dipper Mouth Blues," music by Joe "King" Oliver, lyrics by Walter Melrose.
       New Orleans was the last Hollywood film produced by Herbert J. Biberman, who was one of the "Hollywood Ten," a group of directors, producers, writers and actors who were blacklisted after refusing to state their political alliances during testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). After being charged with contempt of Congress, Biberman served six months in jail. Biberman did not make another film until the 1954 independent picture Salt of the Earth , which received great acclaim in Europe. For more information on the HUAC hearings, please see the entry above for the 1947 RKO picture Crossfire . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 May 1947.
---
Daily Variety
25 Apr 47
p. 3.
Down Beat
21 May 1947
p. 7.
Film Daily
25 Apr 47
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 46
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Sep 46
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 46
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 47
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 1947.
---
Independent Film Journal
28 Sep 46
p. 43.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 May 1947.
---
New York Times
3 Nov 1946.
---
New York Times
20 Jun 47
p. 25.
The Mississippi Rag
Feb 84
p. 12.
Variety
30 Apr 47
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Women's cost des
MUSIC
Mus ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
STAND INS
Singing voice for Dorothy Patrick
Pianist for Richard Hageman
SOURCES
SONGS
"New Orleans," "The Blues Are Brewin'" and "Endie," music by Louis Alter, lyrics by Eddie Delange
"Where the Blues Were Born in New Orleans," music by Bob Carleton, words by Cliff Dixon
"Farewell to Storyville," music and lyrics by Spencer Williams.
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 April 1947
Production Date:
mid September--early November 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Majestic Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
18 April 1947
Copyright Number:
LP999
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
89
Length(in feet):
8,010
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12164
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1917, in the Storyville district of New Orleans, Louisiana, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong plays ragtime music with his band in the basement of the Orpheum cabaret. The cabaret, which also operates as a casino, is owned by Nick Duquesne, the "King of Basin Street." One of Nick's patrons, a wealthy widow named Mrs. Rutledge Smith, from Baltimore, Maryland, is joined in New Orleans by her daughter Miralee, a classically trained singer. Miralee's black maid, Endie, who is Satchmo's girl friend, introduces Miralee to the blues, and takes her to a "jam" session featuring Satchmo and his band. Nick discourages Miralee's love of ragtime because high society considers it immoral, and orders Grace Voiselle, a debutante, who is in love with Nick, to take her home. Jealous of Nick's attention toward Miralee, Grace calls Mrs. Smith and warns her to keep Miralee away from Nick. Mrs. Smith, who earlier had lost ten thousand dollars at the Orpheum, wins it back in roulette and offers it to Nick on the condition that he discourage Miralee's involvement with him. After a month of successfully keeping Miralee out of Basin Street, Nick determines to show her its sordid side to teach her a lesson. At dawn, assuring Nick she has no illusions about him, Miralee kisses him, and they are seen by her mother. Mrs. Smith appeals to her friend, Colonel McArdle, and he has an article printed about the dangers facing unchaperoned debutantes visiting Storyville. He also suggests to the Public Safety Commissioner that he condemn the district. One night, Nick orders Grace, who is drunk, to leave the club, and she is hit ... +


In 1917, in the Storyville district of New Orleans, Louisiana, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong plays ragtime music with his band in the basement of the Orpheum cabaret. The cabaret, which also operates as a casino, is owned by Nick Duquesne, the "King of Basin Street." One of Nick's patrons, a wealthy widow named Mrs. Rutledge Smith, from Baltimore, Maryland, is joined in New Orleans by her daughter Miralee, a classically trained singer. Miralee's black maid, Endie, who is Satchmo's girl friend, introduces Miralee to the blues, and takes her to a "jam" session featuring Satchmo and his band. Nick discourages Miralee's love of ragtime because high society considers it immoral, and orders Grace Voiselle, a debutante, who is in love with Nick, to take her home. Jealous of Nick's attention toward Miralee, Grace calls Mrs. Smith and warns her to keep Miralee away from Nick. Mrs. Smith, who earlier had lost ten thousand dollars at the Orpheum, wins it back in roulette and offers it to Nick on the condition that he discourage Miralee's involvement with him. After a month of successfully keeping Miralee out of Basin Street, Nick determines to show her its sordid side to teach her a lesson. At dawn, assuring Nick she has no illusions about him, Miralee kisses him, and they are seen by her mother. Mrs. Smith appeals to her friend, Colonel McArdle, and he has an article printed about the dangers facing unchaperoned debutantes visiting Storyville. He also suggests to the Public Safety Commissioner that he condemn the district. One night, Nick orders Grace, who is drunk, to leave the club, and she is hit by a car and killed. The incident causes a grand jury to order that Storyville be evacuated by the United States Navy. Satchmo and his friends pack up and leave, and Nick makes plans to move to Chicago. Miralee begs Nick to take her with him, and in order to spare her feelings, he accepts an expensive bracelet from Mrs. Smith to make it look as if he never loved Miralee. He returns the bracelet to Henry Ferber, Miralee's music teacher, to give to Mrs. Smith, but she does not tell Miralee. Determined to give up the gambling business in favor of spreading jazz music across the nation, Nick opens the Club Orleans in Chicago, with Satchmo and piano player Meade Lux Lewis as performers of Chicago style blues. Meanwhile, Miralee becomes a famous opera singer in Europe. Eventually, Satchmo and Endie are married, and he and his band tour Europe. In Paris, Satchmo sees Miralee and tells her that Nick returned the bracelet and has been heartbroken ever since. He also tells her that Nick gave up gambling, has a new job as a music agent, and has been busy trying to introduce New York to the blues. Finally, at a concert at Symphony Hall, Miralee surprises Nick by including Woody Herman and his band and Satchmo and his band in the program. For an encore, Miralee sings Endie's old favorite, "New Orleans," for Nick. +

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

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