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Film, Video St. Louis blues Saint Louis blues

digital viewing copy

About this Item

Title

  • St. Louis blues

Other Title

  • Saint Louis blues

Summary

  • Bessie arrives at her rooming house where the participants of a hallway craps game tell her that her man, Jimmy, has just gone to her room with a beautiful young woman. When she confronts the couple, Jimmy knocks her to the ground, and leaves with the other woman. Bessie begins to sing the blues. Later, in a nightclub, Bessie mournfully continues her song, accompanied by the band and the patrons. When she finishes, the band plays an upbeat tune and people begin to dance. Jimmy enters, laughing, glad-handing, and dancing up a storm. Everyone is delighted to see him. When the song ends, Jimmy calls out to Bessie, who turns and smiles, happy to have him back. They begin to dance. After a few minutes, Jimmie reaches down, steals Bessie's bankroll, and shoves her back to the bar. Holding up her money, he exits laughing, as Bessie returns to singing her sad song.

Names

  • Murphy, Dudley, 1897-1968, film director, screenwriter
  • Currier, Richard, 1892-1984, film producer
  • Smith, Bessie, 1894-1937, actor, performer
  • Mordecai, Jimmy, actor
  • Powell, Isabel Washington, 1908-2007, actor
  • Johnson, James P. (James Price), 1894-1955, performer
  • Morris, Thomas, 1898- performer
  • Smith, Joe, 1902-1937, performer
  • Handy, W. C. (William Christopher), 1873-1958, composer, arranger
  • Johnson, J. Rosamond (John Rosamond), 1873-1954, arranger
  • Strenge, Walter, cinematographer
  • Sheilds, Russell, film editor
  • Oschmann, George, 1889-1948, recordist
  • Hall Johnson Choir, performer
  • Radio Pictures, production company
  • RKO Distributing Corp., film distributor
  • RKO Productions, copyright claimant
  • Sack Amusement Enterprises, film distributor

Created / Published

  • United States : RKO Distributing Corp., 1929 ; United States : Sack Amusement Enterprises.

Headings

  • -  Blues (Music)--Drama
  • -  African American singers--Drama
  • -  Gamblers--Drama
  • -  Betrayal--Drama

Genre

  • Musical films
  • Race films
  • Short films
  • Fiction films

Notes

  • -  LP1051 U.S. Copyright Office
  • -  Copyright: RKO Productions, Inc.; 8Sep29; LP1051.
  • -  Bessie Smith, Jimmy Mordecai, Isabel Washington.
  • -  Performers: James P. Johnson (piano), Thomas Morris (cornet), Joe Smith (cornet), Hall Johnson Choir.
  • -  Choral arrangements by W.C. Handy and Rosamund Johnson ; cinematographer, Walter Strenge ; edited by Russell Sheilds ; recordist, George Oschmann.
  • -  Produced at the Gramercy Studio of RCA Photophone, Inc., in Astoria, Long Island, N.Y. in June, 1929.
  • -  Parts of summary from the National Film Registry essay by Mark Cantor.
  • -  LC also holds a videocassette viewing copy in the Valburn/Ellington Collection.
  • -  This film was selected for the National Film Registry.
  • -  Sources used: Eagan, D. America's film legacy, 2010, p. 161-162; Meeker, Jazz in the movies; Sampson, Blacks in black and white, p. 66-67; Variety, September 4, 1929, p. 12 (ad) viewed March 20, 2023; Copyright catalog, motion pictures, 1912-1939, p. 737; Library of Congress WWW site viewed March 20, 2023, National Film Preservation Board pages (St. Louis Blues essay by Mark Cantor).

Medium

  • 1 video file (digital) (16 min.) : sd., b&w.
  • viewing print 2 film reels of 2 on 1 (16 min., 1,415 ft.) : sd., b&w ; 35 mm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • FGF 1699 (viewing print)

Source Collection

  • AFI Theatre Collection (Library of Congress)

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2023602002

Online Format

  • image
  • video

Additional Metadata Formats

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Credit Line: Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division.

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Murphy, Dudley, Film Director, Screenwriter, Richard Currier, Jimmy Mordecai, Isabel Washington Powell, Thomas Morris, J. Rosamond Johnson, Walter Strenge, et al. St. Louis blues. composeds by Handy, W. C. , Oser, Arranger, performeds by Smith, Bessie, Actor, Johnson, James P, Smith, Joe, and Hall Johnson Choir, produceds by Radio Picturesuction Company United States: RKO Distributing Corp., ; United States: Sack Amusement Enterprises, 1929. Video. https://www.loc.gov/item/2023602002/.

APA citation style:

Murphy, D., Currier, R., Mordecai, J., Powell, I. W., Morris, T., Johnson, J. R. [...] Sack Amusement Enterprises, F. D. (1929) St. Louis blues. Handy, W. C., comp, Smith, B., Johnson, J. P., Smith, J. & Hall Johnson Choir, performers, Radio Picturesuction Company, prod United States: RKO Distributing Corp., ; United States: Sack Amusement Enterprises. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2023602002/.

MLA citation style:

Murphy, Dudley, Film Director, Screenwriter, et al. St. Louis blues. comp by Handy, W. C. , Oser, Arranger, performer by Smith, Bessie, Actor, et al., prod by Radio Picturesuction Company United States: RKO Distributing Corp., ; United States: Sack Amusement Enterprises, 1929. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2023602002/>.