Watching: “Paris Blues” (1961)

When I saw the listing on Turner Classic Movies, I was sure that Paris Blues was going to be an incredible movie. It stars Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier, Joanne Woodward and Diane Ladd, and had several cameos by Louis Armstrong; the story was set in Paris and centered on jazz. Great cast, great setting, great concept— bad movie.

I was so disappointed in this film. It was stereotypical and cardboard. The one-dimensional and flat characters each carried some socio-personal burden of early 1960s, each in his or her own way forcing their baggage into the story and the dialogue in really unnatural ways. Diane Ladd’s character was racially conscious and made an issue of Sidney Poitier’s character choosing to be an expatriate over standing up for Civil Rights, for instance. Joanne Woodward’s character was a bored, divorced mother of two who wanted Paul Newman’s character to leave his wild Parisian life of music and women to come live with her back in the suburbs where he could work free of distractions. Blah . . .

Some of my favorite movies of all time have starred either Paul Newman or Sidney Poitier – Cool Hand Luke or In the Heat of the Night – but man, did this one flop . . .

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