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New Orleans Reviews

The music is the real star of this ludicrous fictionalized account of some 40 years of jazz history. The forgettable story opens in New Orleans where Nick Duquesne (Arturo de Cordova) runs a gambling den in which jazz great Louis Armstrong and his band provide the entertainment. Miralee Smith (Dorothy Patrick), a high-society miss, falls for Nick and Armstrong's music, and, as usual in this sort of film, her parents disapprove. The rest of the movie recounts Nick's peripatetic efforts to sell the public on this "new" music. Naturally he succeeds, even convincing Miralee's parents that jazz is terrific. The insipid plot isn't helped by unconvincing performances from the leads, but Armstrong rises above it all with his music and engaging screen presence. NEW ORLEANS is notable for the appearance of Billie Holiday, whose film career comprised only this film and a 1935 short titled "Symphony in Black." Musical numbers include: "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans" (Edgar De Lange, Louis Alter, performed by Armstrong, his band, Holiday, Herman, Patrick), "Endie" (performed by Armstrong, Herman), "The Blues are Brewin" (Alter, De Lange, performed by Armstrong, Holiday, Herman), "Where the Blues Were Born in New Orleans" (Bob Carleton, Cliff Dixon, performed by Armstrong), "New Orleans Stomp" (Joe "King" Oliver, performed by Patrick), "West End Blues" (Oliver, Clarence Williams, performed by Armstrong), "Buddy Bolden's Blues" (Jelly Roll Morton, performed by Armstrong), Dippermouth Blues" (Oliver, performed by Armstrong), "Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble," "Basin Street Blues," "Mahogany Hall Stomp" (all by Spencer Williams and performed by Armstrong), "Honky Tonk Train Blues" (performed by Lewis), "Farewell to Storyville" (Williams, performed by Armstrong, Holiday), "Maryland My Maryland" (James Ryder Randall, Walter de Mapes, performed by Armstrong).