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The Gene Krupa Story

4.6 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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(May 18, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Sal Mineo (Rebel Without a Cause) steals the screen with his acclaimed portrayal of one of the greatest jazz drummers of all time in this realistic bio-pic. Defying the wishes of his parents, the youngKrupa sets out for New York in search of fame and fortune with his musician buddy, Eddie (James Darren, Gidget, The Guns of Navarone), and his small-town sweetheart, Ethel (Susan Kohner,Imitation of Life). After Krupa's incredible talents are discovered, his rocketing career leaves little time for Ethel. Now playing in the fast lane, the hard-hitting drummer falls for a sexy jazz singer, Dorissa(Susan Oliver, The Disorderly Orderly), who introduces him to drugs. But after serving time in jail and losing true love Ethel, Krupa yearns for only one thing: a second chance at life and love. Special appearances by Anita O’Day and Red Nichols, and a superb soundtrack with Krupa on drums, highlight this compelling story of a musical genius who transformed the sound of jazz percussion.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Buddy Lester, Shelly Manne, Yvonne Craig, James Darren, Sal Mineo
  • Directors: Don Weis
  • Producers: Philip A. Waxman
  • Format: Black & White, Widescreen, Digital Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 18, 2004
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001LJCOS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,383 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Gene Krupa Story" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
For jazz and music lovers "The Gene Krupa Story", is unsurpassed entertainment of the first order and contains some of the best ever work by talented actor Sal Mineo. Sal took on his first real solo starring role in this biography of the legendary Gene Krupa who as the percussionist for the Benny Goodman Quartet became the first real jazz heartthrob developing a legion of besotted fans. A major part of his legend was his innovative playing of the drums and in this film Sal Mineo manages to recreate that special magic, with some of the most amazing precussion work ever caught on screen. Having gained stardom for his sensational work in "Rebel Without a Cause", Sal Mineo was at just the right age and level of acting experience to tackle this major acting role and to his credit he manages all the stages in Krupa's life in a totally believable manner with a minimum of sentiment. Mineo's level of understanding of both the sheer genius of Krupa's ability and also his darker personal side makes for a wonderful screen performance that stays in the mind and makes "The Gene Krupa Story", a viewing experience to treasure.

The film traces Krupa's life from his humble beginnings in Chicago as the youngest child of working class parents who live by the rules of traditional life based around family and the church. We get a very early glimpse of the conflict already existing in young Gene when he brings home a set of drums which his angry father smashes as unsuitable for his son to be wasting his time on. After his father's death Gene however bows to the expectations of his family and joins the priesthood but after a year realises that it is not the life for him.
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Format: DVD
At long last, "The Gene Krupa story" has been released on DVD by Sony/Columbia home video. Rather than review the actual film, this review concentrates on the DVD format as I am very pleased with this edition! The DVD is nicely packaged with a color picture on the front of the box. The film's glorious black and white has been digitally remastered and the clarity is just amazing. Even more important, the film is presented in full "widescreen" so you can view the film the way it was originally presented in theatres. This allows you to view the entire scope of the screen, instead of having the left and right sides of the screen chopped off into a crappy traditional "square" television format. You can see so much more as we all know how wonderful wide screen is. Although the soundtrack is still "mono," Sony has digitally remastered it, and presents it on this disc in "Dolby Digital." This makes a huge difference as the sound is deeper, lusher, and does great justice to the music. This is simply a beautiful presentation of this film. There are no "special features" such as behind the scenes or out takes, however it does have an interactive menu complete with chapter search. This DVD version of the film blows the old VHS version out of the water! For me, this DVD gave me a fresh new viewpoint of the film. The widescreen format compliments Sal's drumming so much that the VHS version could never come close to doing. I rate this DVD a 10+ on the scale of 1-10! If you love this film as much as I do, BUY THE DVD! Now, if only "Who Killed Teddy Bear" could be released on DVD..Now that would be a treat! I am concluding this review with some technical specs: Screen Formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1 Closed Captioned Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital Mono Original Release Date in theatres: 1959. Released to DVD in May, 2004
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I find it difficult to understand why so many critics have slammed this movie. Granted it isn't a 100 percent factual account of Krupa's life, but the acting and musical performances are all first rate. Mineo is utterly convincing as a hungry, young jazz drummer obsessed with following his muse and proving himself to the world. I can easily imagine this film inspiring someone to become a drummer (in fact no less a percussion personage than Neil Peart has made that very claim). I doubt the same could be said for the Glenn Miller or Benny Goodman biopics which, though good, are doubtful to inspire a run on trombones or clarinets at the local musical store. If you like jazz, you should definitely check this movie out.
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Format: VHS Tape
"The Gene Krupa" is possibly the BEST movie in which SAL MINEO was the picture's main STAR~~A huge Box Office hit in 1959! He studied the drums for 18 months(training with the real Gene Krupa) and although he is playing along onscreen to the REAL Krupa's soundtrack, Mineo's drumming is REAL and leaves you breathless. His acting in this film, as always, is amazing, and the supporting cast is awesome! Featuring the lovely Susan Kohner(who also co-starred in Sal's hit movie version of his tv play, "DINO"), James Darren, and apperances by jazz greats, Anita O'Day, Red Nichols, and Buddy Lester, this is a wonderful biopic sure to thrill jazz lovers, and inspire all generations of future drummers. It's also a wonderful treat for the Sal Mineo fan, especially to see him in something so different than his most famous Oscar nominated role in "Rebel without a cause."(Sal Mineo also was nominated for an Oscar and won the Golden Globe for "EXODUS")
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