• U.S.

Cinema: Jazz & All That Jazz

2 minute read

Paris Blues (United Artists) has something for the tourists: autumn in Paris. It has something for the cats: regressive jazz by Duke Ellington. It has something for the newspaper ads: a hint of interracial romance. It has something for the marquee: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Sidney Poitier, Diahann Carroll, Louis Armstrong. All it lacks is something to pull these parts into a sensible whole.

Two American girls—one pink (Woodward), one beige (Carroll)—take a two-week holiday in Paris, where they meet two American boys—one pale (Newman), one brown (Poitier)—in an integrated cave where the boys play sliphorn and piano. At first Newman makes a pass at Carroll, but the kids are quickly segregated, and soon they are in love. For Newman, love is short but art is long; he sends Woodward home and stays in Paris to study music. For Poitier, love is a ticket back to the U.S.; he decides to marry Carroll and join her crusade for racial equality.

Director Martin Ritt (The Long, Hot Summer) has obviously sought for artistic truth in this film, but the only general truth that Blues propounds is one that might have prevented this production: expatriates are a pretty dull bunch.

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