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New Orleans (1947)

Arturo de Córdova , Dorothy Patrick , Arthur Lubin  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Arturo de Córdova, Dorothy Patrick, Marjorie Lord, Irene Rich, Richard Hageman
  • Directors: Arthur Lubin
  • Writers: Herbert J. Biberman, Dick Irving Hyland, Elliot Paul
  • Producers: Herbert J. Biberman, Jules Levey
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 25, 2000
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305820783
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,132 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "New Orleans" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

This little-seen, 1947 drama is a treat for jazz fans, thanks to an otherwise creaky, if nobly intentioned story built around the music's Crescent City genesis that provides an ample excuse to turn the camera on authentic jazz greats. Nick Duquesne (Arturo De Cordova) is a Bourbon Street charmer whose gambling club provides the mythic stomping grounds for none other than Louis Armstrong, whose vocalizing sweetheart Endie, played by none other than Billie Holiday, proves no slouch herself. A newly arrived debutante, Miralee (Dorothy Patrick), arrives in New Orleans and falls first for the music and then for the roguish but ultimately gallant Nick. The movie follows knee-jerk plot machinations revolving around her family's efforts to excise Nick from her life, her own dream of mingling jazz and classical music, and the gambler's transformation into a jazz promoter.

The script works in the squalor and much of the geography of Storyville and the French Quarter, even providing a contrasting look at the genteel parlor music being played in "respectable" casinos, and the casting telegraphs the production's reverence for jazz. Satchmo's other musical partners are equally serendipitous, including Kid Ory, Barney Bigard, Bud Scott, Zutty Singleton, Meade "Lux" Lewis, and Red Callender. A brief arc late in the film adds Woody Herman and his orchestra.

When the musicians are featured, New Orleans is a frequent delight, with Armstrong as magnetic as always, and Holiday endearing. As an actress, she's a terrific singer, and luckily Lady Day's dialogue is far briefer than her featured vocals. The DVD version boasts additional period shorts showcasing Armstrong (1932's "A Rhapsody in Black and Blue") and Holiday's "Symphony in Black" from 1935). --Sam Sutherland

Product Description

Music's greatest legends re-enact the birth of jazz in this song-filled tribute to the town where it all began: New Orleans! Arturo de Cordova stars as Nick, the proprietor of a Bourbon Street gambling joint, and artistic haven for African-American musicians. When he falls for an opera-singing socialite, Nick realizes that only through music will he gain respectability, and launches a campaign to bring jazz to the highbrow American stage. A refreshing rediscovery, New Orleans is especially noteworthy for its lack of racial stereotypes, as well as the high caliber of performances delivered by its stellar cast, including Louis Armstrong, Woody Herman, Kid Ory, Meade Lux Lewis and more. Perhaps the film's most memorable number is "Farewell to Storyville", a haunting blues melody sung by Billie Holiday as she leads a procession of black musicians exiled from the city -- a sequence that beautifully captures the melancholy and grace of Holiday's inimitable performance style. Other musical highlights include Holiday's rendition of "New Orleans", Armstrong's "Endie" and "Where The Blues Were Born", and their duet "The Blues Are Brewin". Also included in this DVD are two musical shorts from Paramount Studios (A Rhapsody In Black And Blue featuring Armstrong and Symphony In Black with Holiday and Duke Ellington) as well as an essay on the making of New Orleans, which originated as a project for Orson Welles.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars B-grade movie comes alive via Satchmo and Lady Day! August 29, 2000
By J. Lund
For years I've wanted to see NEW ORLEANS, knowing that thestoryline wouldn't match the quality of the music, and now it is finally available...on DVD no less. After watching it, I can say that the movie lived up (musically) and down (plotwise) to my expectations. However, with Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong and Billie 'Lady Day' Holiday in prominent roles, the musical strengths more than cancelled out the thematic/cinematic shortcomings.
The musical footage of Holiday and Armstrong (seen in solos and duets) is worth the price of admission, and the entirety of the movie is fairly entertaining if you don't expect too much....
Amid the cliched plot threads... fortunately the racial stereotypes are quite inoffensive by 1947 standards (albeit Billie is cast as a maid). Due to the lack of available Billie Holiday footage alone, this movie approaches essential status, at least among jazz fans.
The DVD includes two bonus shorts: a young Louis Armstrong sings and plays in the 1932 A RHAPSODY IN BLACK AND BLUE, and Duke Ellington teams up with a VERY young Billie Holiday in the priceless 1935 short SYMPHONY IN BLACK.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great footage of many early jazz legends April 5, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I have always found jazz performances much more captivating live rather than recorded, and although I can't travel back in time and see Louis Armstrong play during his prime, this video is the next best thing.
The makers of New Orleans did not waste the talents of the musicians, and a good chunk of the movie is concert footage of many of the giants from the golden age of Jazz including Kid Ory, Woody Herman and Billie Holiday doing old standards such as Basin Street Blues and Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans.
These performances truly convey the joy that enrapt the musicians as they played, and Armstrong in particular, is irresistably charming and funny as usual and appears for much of the film.
Unfortunately, Holiday is possibly the most wooden actress I have ever seen, but since for most of her comparatively short screen time is spent singing, it isn't a problem.
I strongly recommended this one to all fans of early jazz.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Silly plot, fantastic music August 4, 2001
I bought this DVD blindly just because I'm such a fan of Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and of New Orleans in general. The plot (what there is of it) is clichŽd and uninteresting, but the music is fantastic, and I ended up playing the musical pieces over and over. The entire movie is filmed on a Hollywood soundstage; if you're looking for shots of old New Orleans, look elsewhere.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the story! January 24, 2005
The film itself it trite and inconsequential. Buy this for the music alone. It's a delight to see Louis Armstrong in such a casual environment, with so many jazz legends, not to mention one of Billie Holiday's rare movie appearances. This DVD is honestly a treasure.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great music and star-studded performance January 1, 2007
The movie showcased the ascent of New Orleans ragtime music versus the uptown music. Miralee Smith (Dorothy Patrick) was the young opera singer who, together with her conductor, was attracted to ragtime music, against the wish of her mother and many. Mrs. Smith, to keep her daughter away from ragtime music and its staunch supporter, Mr. Duquesne (Arturo de Cordova), made sure New Orleans had no place for either of them. And in Chicago Mr. Duquesne popularized the music as jazz.

The real draw, of course, lies in the jazz music as epitomized by Louis Armstrong and his Band, Woody Herman and his Orchestra, and the beautiful voice of Billie Holiday, plus the professional musicians playing the cornet, trombone, clarinet, double bass ... . Billie Holiday exuberates a cool confidence with her unique rich voice and her swaying along the melody. Her rendition of Ms New Orleans was impressive, but the most outstanding moment was when she sang fairwell to Storyville and later joined by the chorus of the black folks who were forced to leave New Orleans. Not to mention the solo played by Louis Armstrong and Woody Herman.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Orleans Movie Review December 13, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Tells the story of the emergence of Dixieland Jazz primarily through the background love story of two charasmatic people - Miralee Smith, a talented opera singer, and Nick Duquesnes, owner of a Jazz Club-cum-gambling joint, who were at opposite ends of the social strata. Musical renderings by Billie Holliday, Louis Armstrong and Woody Herman, among others, make it a unique and memorable movie. There is no other movie like this one out there!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A jazz enthusiast must see September 30, 2005
I am so very glad I bought it, as a person who loves great music and provocative movies, with love as a theme, in all vernaculars (except hip-hop), and a jazz enthusiast at heart it's a love story dotted with great musical contributions from the authentic jazz greats, Louie Armstrong and Billie Holiday to name a few.
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