The Beat Goes On

Hollywood has churned out countless musical biographies on popular musicians, singers and songwriters over the years, jazz artists and their life stories have remained a virtually untapped genre with few exceptions (Bird, Clint Eastwood’s 1988 portrait of Charlie Parker, 2015’s Born to be Blue with Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker). There was a brief time in the fifties, however, where public interest in some of the big band legends and early jazz innovators resulted in a spate of high-profile biopics: The Glenn Miller Story [1953], The Benny Goodman Story [1955], and The Five Pennies [1959), starring Danny Kaye as jazz trumpeter Red Nichols. Coming at the end of the cycle was The Gene Krupa Story [1959] which featured Sal Mineo (twenty years old at the time) in his first adult screen role. 

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