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


Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

Women don't get you

The whiskey must

He was a good man.

Sure enough he was.

He's gone but not forgotten.

- Amen.

- Amen.

- We'll always remember him.

- Sure enough we will.

- Yes, he's gone.

- Good man gone.

- We'll never forget him.

- Amen.

Yes, he was a good man.


He rambled and he rambled

till the butcher cut him down.

All right, that'll do it.

Let's go let up some air.

Blow through that a while.

We need time to count it. Sugar can.

How about it, Pete?

Next set on the drums.

It's all right with me.

Get Joey's vote.

If you're looking for a new way to

grow old, this is the place to come.

17 Cherry Street, Kansas City.

It's a speakeasy one flight down.

It was a brownstone at first.

After that an undertaker had the place.

But he went to Chicago to get

a piece of the flu epidemic...

and Rudy Shulak took over.

Rudy got a booze contract out of

Joplin and bought some tablecloths.

It's been a gin bin ever since.

There's even a little business

on the side for shut-ins.

Rudy's a puny little guy.

Sew an extra button on

his vest, he'd fall down.

But he's all right.

The beer's good, the whiskey's aged,

if you get here late in the day.

On top of that, he knows

where to spend money.

He knows where to save it.

And he's good to the help.

He pays scale with a $5 kickback.

I play cornet and run the band.

We play from 10 till 4 with

a 20-minute pizza break.

The hours are bad but

the music suits us.

There's one other thing about

Rudy's and that's trouble.

You can get it by the yard,

the pound, wholesale or retail.

Like one Tuesday night.

A lot of people were busy that night.

- Rudy wants to see you.

- What have you got in there?

Milo Violets, Deities, Sweet Caporals.

Anything you want.

You going by the Plantation later?

Bennie Moten's in.

I don't know.

Pack some lunch. We'll see.

Go in my office. Have a

talk with Fran McCarg.

- Who's she?

- It's a he.

Go light. He's downstate

gun for Colissimo.

We're out of champagne.

You gotta squeeze.

- What's this McCarg doing up here?

- I heard some 22nd Ward business.

- What's he want with me?

- Huh?

What's he want with me?

Maybe he wants you to run

for something. I got no idea.

But you'd better see him.

I don't know why you let

people like that in here.

In Topeka I let in three nice old ladies.

They took out an ax and broke every bottle.

What's that got to do with it?

Stuck up a sign, said I was

a disgrace to fatherhood.

They know I didn't have no kids.

Now, don't tell me stuff.

Just go talk to McCarg.

All right, Dad.

Hey, wanna go to a party?

Two hundred people, Ivy's house.

- Bring the band.

- If the party was so good, why'd you leave?

To get more people. It's the only

reason to leave. Have a drink.

Hey, you coming or not?


- Quite a fighter, Johnny Risko.

- He'll do.

I'm Fran McCarg.

You know Guy Bettenhouser?

- You've got a nice band, Kelly.

- Thanks. We finished together.

That's why I'd like to

do something for you.

- Cigarette?

- This what you had in mind?

- No, an agent.

- We got one.

I'm going into business handling

a few bands. I'd like to sign you.

We got an agent, Phil Mishkin.

I know, but you don't want him,

he's a bungler.

We got a contract. We can't break it.

And we can't pay two commissions.

Get that lump out of your throat.

We're already on short dough.

The fellas, they got families.

Everybody's got them.

They can't come up with 10 percent.

They got families.

Look, the only guy who didn't was Adam.

How long did he come up empty?

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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, 2021. Web. 14 Jun 2021. <'s_blues_15799>.

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