Pete Kelly's Blues

Synopsis: In 1927 Kansas City Pete Kelly and his jazz band play nightly at a speakeasy. A local gangster starts to move in on them and when their drummer is killed Kelly gives in, even though this also means taking the thug's alcoholic girl as a singer. Kelly soon realises he has made a big mistake selling out in this way and that rich girl Ivy is now the only decent thing in his life.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Music
Director(s): Jack Webb
Production: Warner Bros.
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination.
95 min

So don't tell me your troubles.

Point is, I'm starting a list

of clients, I want you on it.

I can't answer for the whole band.

Line them up and count noses.

I'll be back at closing.

Kelly, just so you know,

we give services.

Not 10 percent, it's 25.

We got a big overhead.

Yeah. I noticed him.

We should add a baritone.

Plenty of bands got them.

- Too muddy. No bite.

- No, it wouldn't hurt.

Couldn't we add something

on the low end?


What about "Tin Roof Blues"?

In the morning, that phonograph

does "Tin Roof," all right?

- You listening, Pete?

- It'll keep.

How'd you boys like another manager?

Fella named Fran McCarg.

We got an agent.

I covered all that.

It's a shakedown, he wants 25 percent.

- Serious?

- Waiting to hear from us.

Tell him no, you can tell him now.

- You get in touch with the union?

- Not yet.

Guy must be crazy.

Rudy don't pay us nothing now.

I don't mind working free,

but I don't wanna pay commission.

- What about the rest of you?

- When it's late at night, pay off.

- He's not talking about tonight.

- That's what I say, when it's late, pay off.


Maybe Joey's right. Get a few bucks

ahead, you don't wanna give it all away.

We're getting ahead. Enough to buy

new drums and coats that match.

- You tell us we gotta cut ourselves out.

- I'm not telling you anything.

You wanna vote? We don't

need no vote. Tell this guy no.

- Do you know who McCarg is?

- No, I never met him.

Do you know? You?

- You?

- I don't care who knows him.

If the band throws in with him,

I'll go to the Blue Devils.

He'll get to them. He'll get to

every ragtime outfit in town.

Then I'll go with the Salvation Army.

That's the truth, Pete.

I'm rather be second drummer for them.

We can't argue all night.

What do I tell McCarg?

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Richard L. Breen

Richard L. Breen (June 26, 1918 – February 1, 1967) was a Hollywood screenwriter and director. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"Pete Kelly's Blues" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 1 Jun 2020. <>.

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