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Blues in the Night

22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Priscilla Lane, Jack Carson. This early film noir starts with a blues band aspiring to make enough scratch to get by. After tangling with a gangster and a man-eating moll, the band's simple dream is corrupted and their lives are in jeopardy. 1941/b&w/92 min/NR/fullscreen.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Priscilla Lane, Betty Field, Richard Whorf, Lloyd Nolan, Jack Carson
  • Directors: Anatole Litvak
  • Writers: Elia Kazan, Edwin Gilbert, Robert Rossen
  • Producers: Hal B. Wallis, Henry Blanke
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2008
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0016OM3TK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,556 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Blues in the Night" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 65 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 4, 2008
Format: DVD
This is a very offbeat kind of film that is not well known. You'll either really love it - I do - or you'll not care for it at all. Anatole Litvak, who directed so many womens' pictures, directs this odd little film that starts out as a kind of "small town band does good" picture, takes a turn into gangster territory, and then gets really dark with a venture into film noir and mental illness. Nobody in this film was a big name at the time, and I get the feeling it was one of those films that Warner's liked to grind out like sausages in the 30's and 40's that just happened to turn out to be rather special. Great performances are turned in from everyone involved, which includes Priscilla Lane as a good girl with depth, Lloyd Nolan as a gangster with a touch of the entrepreneurial and even a bit of a mentor, Jack Carson as a heel with a large bag of excuses for his behavior, Betty Field as the gangster's moll who aspires to be a singer and also ruins men as a hobby, and Richard Whorf as the musician and bandleader who falls for the moll and also into temporary insanity. Also note that future great director Elia Kazan shows up playing a small part as one of the bandmembers.

Released just three weeks before the beginning of World War II, it provides a snapshot of how the Depression and the era of the gangster were receding into memory just as an age of optimism was beginning that would go on hiatus during the war effort, and restart and peak after the war was over. Great atmosphere and great acting - highly recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By William P. Ruspantine on July 29, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this wonderful story on late night. The acting is superb,story brillant.Betty field as troubled singer, loyd nolan as gangster club owner. this is how stories should flow keeping the watcher interested.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Comack on March 14, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Overlooked film drama part film noir, part celebration of jazz music, part social commentary - features future directors Elia Kazan and Richard Whorf in leading roles - fast-paced, well written -recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert T. Lukomski on January 13, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a very good film about people who love making music in it's raw form, performing live. They work hard and run into some successes and some troubles. Tremendous acting by Priscilla Lane and Richard Whorf (who looks amazingly like Victor Mature). Betty Field is a great "bad girl" without over playing the role and Priscilla Lane plays the opposing nice, cute girl, also without overdoing it. The director must have really done a great job working w/ all the actors to get such fine performances. Many of the roles would have been easy to over play or become parodies of themselves, but they don't allow that to happen. The storyline isn't complex, but the scenes and characters are so interesting that the plot doesn't need to be complex in order to entertain. You don't have to be a music fan to like this, but it doesn't hurt. This is one of my favorite films from this era.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peg DeLorca on May 16, 2010
Format: DVD
Fast paced, great music, fun story line...what a little gem. Really superior for this type of film. Betty Field is her usually wonderful nutball self and to see Elia Kazan as an actor is a treat. Oh, and dig that title song--and the others!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Guy M. Budziak on March 13, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Having seen this film on TCM a few years back there were things about it that stuck with me. Definitely not an MGM film, as much of the action takes place in jail cells, boxcars and roadhouses, more in keeping with a Warner Brothers product, which it is. Not exactly a musical either, this in spite of the fact that music is the focal point of the film. Most of the characters here (incidentally, one of the characters here is actually NAMED Character, lovely Priscilla Lane) are down and out musicians, none of whom have two nickels to rub together most of the time. The lead musician is Jigger (Richard Whorf), a gifted pianist who is also something of a tortured soul, someone who lives for his artistry but tends to make bad decisions, particularly when it comes to women. BLUES IN THE NIGHT possesses a great cast, which includes Jack Carson, Lloyd Nolan, Elia Kazan (yes THAT Elia Kazan), Wallace Ford, Billy Halop (onetime Dead End Kid), Howard Da Silva and Betty Field (as the bad girl who sends Jigger off the rails). There's a lot I like about this film, brisk pace, snappy patter, vivid characters and an earthy lowdown ambiance that lends a noirish flavor to the proceedings. And the music's not bad either. Recommended.
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Format: DVD
It's hard to decide which is the most awkward part of this slightly noirish movie...the beginning, the middle or the end. The beginning features five white musicians and a girl singer who decide to form a special kind of band, led by the impassioned piano player. "It's gotta be our kind of music, our kind of band...the blues, the real blues...the kind that comes out of people, real people...their hopes and their dreams...." The middle features these six riding a box car, becoming entangled with a rough gangster who befriends them, a tough-as-nails femme fatale who does not, and a roadhouse success in New Jersey. The end features a nervous breakdown, a dead baby, a shooting, a car ride to death and another box car. You know, the usual blues stuff. Along the way there is some impassioned dialogue.

What Blues in the Night has going for it are songs by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, including one great song, "This Time the Dreams on Me" and one they knocked out of the ball park, perhaps the best popular blues song ever written, "Blues in the Night." The movie also features another first-rate performance by Lloyd Nolan as the gangster. I wonder if any other actor appeared in so many flawed A movies or just plain B moves but who invariably gave believable, notable performances. There are several musical numbers that stand out. We also have the chance to see Betty Field, a first-rate actress who wasn't as successful in Hollywood as she was on Broadway. She plays the femme fatale, complete with bad grammar and the kind of sexy selfishness that can lead a man to bed at night and leave him alone with an empty wallet the next morning. She's brittle and hard here, but her strong suit as an actress, I think, was the fragile vulnerability and warmth she could project.
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