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January 23, 2021


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Very beautiful. Thank you,

Christian Lanier

PARIS BLUES is maybe slight and kinda corny, but it’s also got enough cool for two movies to coast on, between Newman and Poitier and Ellington (the one thing I really wish - that when Newman had the big shot producer review his composition, the producer should’ve called the piece promising, but too derivative of the Duke). Woodward is legit wonderful in it, the musical scene with Armstrong is entertaining as hell - and the movie as a whole really gets the camaraderie of a musician’s scene, where the playing bridges the stage and the parties, part vocation and part socialization - woven into the fabric of work and life, blurring the boundaries between them. I think Ritt is an underappreciated American director, and it’s nice to get a sense of how his sensibilities dovetailed with Bernstein’s.


“So. The Betsy. What was up with that?”

Probably a big paycheck.


THE BETSY was likely just a paycheck for Bernstein, but at the time he signed on to write the movie, the producers were dreaming of a tony, high profile picture which would enhance and transform the Harold Robbins potboiler into something like THE GODFATHER. [The Bernstein script was apparently instrumental in helping to secure Laurence Olivier and others to star in the film.] Ultimately the producers decided that Bernstein's script was probably too high-toned for their purposes, and brought in William Bast to do a substantial rewrite.

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