LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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boblipton

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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostTue May 17, 2016 10:43 am

Yar. I knew there was something you can't burn at both ends and I thought it was a candle.

Bob
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostTue May 17, 2016 6:11 pm

boblipton wrote:
westegg wrote:What I find unsettling is that I discovered KOJ on VHS in 1983 when I was 27. Now I'm reading of possible restoration circa 2014 and I'm now 57. Let's say another thirty years skip by. Maybe when I'm 87 I'll finally see it restored--by that time KOJ itself will be 113 years old. Ain't time grand!

:shock:


That reminds me. Thank you, Universal, for getting this done, in plenty of time for Westegg's 87th birthday.

Bob



Hahaha--thanks for reminding me about this! I'm approaching 60 and this is an early birthday present indeed! Can't wait for the book now.
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Lokke Heiss

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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostTue May 17, 2016 8:13 pm

Am posting my review of the film - saw it at MoMA on opening night.

The MoMA program of restorations from the Carl Laemmle Jr. era started with a bang tonight with King of Jazz -- wow...I mean WOW! It's a very unique movie, filmed at the very beginning of the sound era, but completely self-assured. The movie is basically a series of separated acts held together by the overall presence of Paul Whiteman and his band - at the opening of the film, we see a large book titled: Paul Whiteman's Scrapbook, and as the pages open and turn, we go from act to act. The sheer number of acts we go through is amazing, and range from good to outstanding, with production design that is often eye-popping (here's a film that absolutely needs to be seen on a big screen for full effect). I talked to David Pierce, who helped restore this film back to its dazzling present state, and he said it premiered at the Roxy theater here in New York, a venue that seated more than 4000 people. I told him the his presentation tonight may have lacked the Roxy Theater and a crowd of 4000, but it had everything else, including a whole lot of appreciative film fans.

In casting my 'reviewer's eye' toward this film, many odd qualities become apparent - for example, you could argue that the film was overproduced, like many modern big budget films of today are - this gives you a little too much of everything - for example, in the huge mammoth act, The Melting Pot, did we REALLY need ALL of those European countries as part of the act? Yes, movies of that day could go overbudget also, but there is a particular spendthrift quality of King of Jazz that says to the viewer:We're going to go all out with this because we can. This sheer spectacle - for spectacle's sake - makes The King of Jazz a bit fragile as a viewing experience in that you kind of need to see it in a theater with an audience to really get the effect of it, and to also recreate what the movie itself was trying to do - which is to make the viewer feel like they have gone to a fantastic All-Star Broadway review show - not just a great show, but the best one they are ever going to see ... that kind of visual experience just isn't going to work in other formats - for example it will mostly fall flat on a media like Youtube. So what am I saying? I'm saying this film demands to be seen on a big screen with a crowd.
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostTue May 17, 2016 10:34 pm

boblipton wrote:
greta de groat wrote:Even in 1930 it seem ironic , though, that the "jazz melting pot" number mentions everyone but African Americans.

Greta


Goldurn it, Greta! There's another of my bugaboos. I'm waiting for someone in this thread to write "data is" so I can turn my hat around.

The lack of Black people in the number is not ironic. It is a lie, which is not a synonym for "ironic". Everything in Whiteman's history is a record for striving for respectability and that's why the only Black individual onscreen is a little girl. That's why the melting pot number has bagpipers in it. For some reason, I can't think of any jazz bagpipers.

If I were editing this picture, I would have cut it after the Paul Whiteman dance number and burnt the overblown, overproduced, racist number for the silver content. The fact that this was not done says everything about the consensus of 1930.


I remembered at least the "voodoo" dancer that was one of my favorite parts and the only remotely African reference i can recall in the film. His name was Jacques Cartier--he turns out to be white. Good dancer, though.

greta
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostWed May 18, 2016 5:47 am

As a musical revue movie, KOJ showed a lot more directorial imagination than similiar musicals from that era. What a blessing it has survived this way, given how others are just shadows of themselves. We can keep hoping somewhere better prints can be found, but it only reaffirms the miracle that the restored KOJ is.
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostWed May 18, 2016 8:31 am

I'm truly surprised about the all the geschrei-ing on this board concerning the meaning of the term "jazz". Let's take the word "rock". Such diverse performers as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Zombies, Credence Clearwater Revival, The Who, Prince, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Janis Joplin, Metallica and Pink Floyd are classified as rock musicians. Could you find a broader range of styles, techniques, delivery and subject matter then those that were successfully popularized by these artists? Can we pigeon hole so diverse a group of musicians and vocalists? They were an amalgamation of styles, bits and pieces garnered from other artists and reinterpreted by various groups or individuals. Tap dancing has its roots in Irish step dancing and African rhythm dancing. It's still tap dancing. Opera was developed by Italian, German, French, Austrian and many other composers of varied cultural origins. Yet there work is all considered opera. The first song to put ragtime on the worldwide map was "Alexander's Ragtime Band" which can hardly be authenic considered ragtime music.
No, black jazz artists did not truly get their universal due for their contributions to the formation of jazz by the masses (among other musicians and denizens of Harlem nightlife, it was a different story). The first widely popular jazz performers were The Original Dixieland Jass Band, which, although composed of white musicians, were terms "the originators of jazz". Okay, so that's no more accurate than calling Miley Cyrus a singer. But neither did black actors, authors, poets or painters get their due. Such were the times. Neither did Latinos, women and gay people who contributed to the various arts. It's not a moral issue, it is simply how things were, and you can't rewrite history.
Fortunately, things have changed. Then how long and how frequently can you harp and kvetch on the same subject? It's rather perverse to view subject matter that is offensive and disturbing to you - so why do so? Pyramids with always be triangular regardless of whether one likes triangles or not.
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostWed May 18, 2016 6:48 pm

greta de groat wrote:Even in 1930 it seem ironic , though, that the "jazz melting pot" number mentions everyone but African Americans.

Greta


When I saw this sequence unfold, I started to get into my 'hunker down cringe' mode, thinking at some point they would have a blackface group of musicians/dancers do something very un-PC and then plunge into the pot. The countries kept going by, one by one, and no Africa - I think they even had Lichtenstein and the Duchy of Fenwick do little song and dance numbers. Then there was a lightning bolt and roll of thunder, and 'jazz' had arrived.

I think the filmmakers (and I give them credit for this) finessed the situation. They meant (but did not state explicitly) that the pot itself was the heritage of the African music - they said earlier in the movie that jazz was 'born in Africa,' then you have the different cultures with their own kind of music sink into the pot - and when they are 'all in, we had a quick shot of the lightning and thunder (the rhythm) and you have the American jazz idiom. Better to do it that way, because the African connection becomes central, not just one more flavor dumped in the pot.
"You can't top pigs with pigs."

Walt Disney, responding to someone who asked him why he didn't immediately do a sequel to The Three Little Pigs
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostWed May 18, 2016 7:57 pm

Very astute, Lokke. The film is not as gad-awful politcally un-pc as these horrified 2016 viewers would have it. And I'm sure the film would have been a total smash, had the editor ended it after the Whiteman look-alike did his cartwheel and the final footage burned for the silver content!
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostWed May 25, 2016 6:29 pm

jameslayton wrote:Here's a three-minute clip from NBCUniversal's new restoration of King of Jazz, courtesy of The New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/video/arts/100000004400626/clip-king-of-jazz.html


OH WOW! Just - awesome! Beautiful! Stunning! Spine-tingling! Gob-Smacking! Mind Blowing!

I've been waiting since 1987 to see this!
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostThu May 26, 2016 2:59 pm

Again - in my opinion ONLY (so kindly withdraw the howitzers), some of the comments being left on this thread verge on the absurd. Who would have thought that a film made for entertainment and escapism like KOJ would one day become as controversial as L'AGE D'OR and CITIZEN KANE were at the time of their premiers. I've no idea what its detractors were expecting to see when they went to a screening. Apparently a PBS documentary produced by Ken Burns detailing the roots of jazz in its purest form with digitally enhanced historical photos that appear to be three-dimensional and professorial
and pedantic dissertations which eschew any hint of frivolity. I can't imagine why folks like marknyc even bother with groups such as this one since he finds so much of what is discussed here creaky, silly, dated, blah blah and blah blah blah. Is it solely to be an agitator? Perhaps imdb would be a more appropriate forum since such behavior abounds there.
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostThu May 26, 2016 3:05 pm

That's a little harsh, Busby. It's possible to look at a movie on several levels, to enjoy some parts, to be disappointed by others. to consider the sociological implication of choices, and so forth. If being wrong were against the law here, everyone but me would be gone.

Bob
Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates.

-- Werner Herzog
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostThu May 26, 2016 5:46 pm

Busby I fully agree with you. Having seen the incredibly positive and enthusiastic response to the restored KING OF JAZZ at MOMA, I can only ascribe the perennially complaining and pathetically negative comments of marknyc to being a chronic cinewhiner who likes to call attention to himself. No value to his comments, stone throwing or bitching., These kind of folks contribute zero to the restoration process and turn off the beancounters who reluctantly fund these important restorations.

This whiner posted similar negative gripes at odds with the public's response on Facebook. His is a lone, negative zero-value complainer who is best ignored.
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disspointment

PostFri May 27, 2016 12:40 pm

The clip shown from the restored version of king of jazz.I saw indicate tha it's been enhanced with the three color look just like the VHS version cause the wall street investors did not like the red and green probably .Also it;s the the recent discovered print tha was found which is 104 minuted,but universal own resources.So it's a only 98 minuted long .Obviously universal did not wan to pay the founder a good royalty for remastering .although the rhapsody in blu sequence was tinted .So they gave this scenes s bluish appear,but adjusting the tint becoming real green,Other shot indicate in still ha it is enhance ,this wrong,but executives and their greedy investors don't like the color .have no understand of history and put profit first I hope I'm wrong anthe rest of the film is pure two color when it arrives on DVD or Blu -ray.
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostFri May 27, 2016 1:24 pm

Not sure what the almost incomprehensibly written rambling of FilmbuffB above is saying, but there is NO blue in the Rhapsody In Blue restoration as is clear to anyone who saw the clip or the screening. The restoration is true and accurate to its two color release. While am not sure exactly what Filmbuff B is even saying (Universal spent over $500K on the effort and owns the film so there was no one to be refusing to pay some inapplicable "royalty")) in their barely literate fantasy, but they are again the kind of ill-informed complainer to whom facts matter little but attention to their negativity, even when in some hard to follow language, is all that counts. Very sad.
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostFri May 27, 2016 2:54 pm

Yes, the rambling you speak of has nothing to do what anyone saw (including me) at the screening. "Rhapsody in Blue" was grandly minty green. And Universal should again be applauded for taking on the expense required to make this musical shine again.
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostFri May 27, 2016 3:58 pm

It has been pointed out to me that in frame 14,569 of the film, there is a white spot as large as .00087 millimetres - about 1.5 millimetres down and .07 mllimetres in from the right. Universal should have spent another trillion dollars removing it. I am very disappointed!


Some people!
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostFri May 27, 2016 4:35 pm

dede wrote:It was glorious seeing it on the big screen, and yes, the flies were noticeable on the actresses shoulders.


I noticed that and was wondering what was going on at the studio with all those flies. However, by the end of the show, I had forgotten about them.

Bob
Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates.

-- Werner Herzog
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostFri May 27, 2016 5:28 pm

LOL guys! :D
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostFri May 27, 2016 7:18 pm

I always thought the title was a it of a misnomer but really a storm in a tea cup IMO for those that have issues with it. Whitemans's music is more what was labled "sweet" as with Henry Busse and Guy Lombardo and many others who brought jazz inspired music to a wider audience. It is annoying that jazz purists tend to denigrate this kind of music. It was popular and it was fun and is a goldmine for many memorable tunes of the 20's and 30's.
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostSat May 28, 2016 5:27 am

You said it! Always like Kay Kyser and his group too (Ginny Simms, Harry Babbitt, etc.)
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostSat May 28, 2016 11:41 am

I've seen the clip of the restored version and it is definitely a "mint" green or teal color, the person who viewed as blue must be watching defective equipment, or suffers from a degree of color blindness. To me, this is probably exactly what the audiences saw in 1930. Instead of celebrating this beautiful restoration, the sour grapes faction instead tries to tear this film apart, even to the point of denigrating the restoration itself. Unbelievable. I have contacted the powers that be in Minneapolis-Saint Paul to request that they bring KING OF JAZZ to the Twin Cities.
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostSat May 28, 2016 1:03 pm

I contacted Vickers Theatre (a nice little arthouse in SW Michigan that caters mostly to Chicago clientele) last week and asked if they would consider it. No reply. If someone else in the area is interested, it couldn't hurt to write them:

http://vickerstheatre.com/
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostSat May 28, 2016 3:12 pm

vitaphone wrote:Not sure what the almost incomprehensibly written rambling of FilmbuffB above is saying, but there is NO blue in the Rhapsody In Blue restoration as is clear to anyone who saw the clip or the screening. The restoration is true and accurate to its two color release. While am not sure exactly what Filmbuff B is even saying (Universal spent over $500K on the effort and owns the film so there was no one to be refusing to pay some inapplicable "royalty")) in their barely literate fantasy, but they are again the kind of ill-informed complainer to whom facts matter little but attention to their negativity, even when in some hard to follow language, is all that counts. Very sad.


Glad to have the earlier comments clarified. Despite being an admirer of the great, late Stanley Unwin, I, too found some of his / her comments somewhat difficult to get my head around...
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostSat May 28, 2016 6:14 pm

Danny Burk wrote:I contacted Vickers Theatre (a nice little arthouse in SW Michigan that caters mostly to Chicago clientele) last week and asked if they would consider it. No reply. If someone else in the area is interested, it couldn't hurt to write them:

http://vickerstheatre.com/" target="_blank" target="_blank
I contacted The Film Society of Minneapolis-Saint Paul via their Facebook page and they did respond to me saying that it would be brought up at future programming meetings, so I am hopeful that it may get a showing here. If the Vickers Theatre has a FB page, perhaps you may get a quicker response by inquiring there.
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostSat May 28, 2016 6:42 pm

I emailed Universal Australia and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne to see whether there would be screenings in Australia. I have been inundated with responses (not). :(
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostSat May 28, 2016 9:05 pm

Donald Binks wrote:I emailed Universal Australia and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne to see whether there would be screenings in Australia. I have been inundated with responses (not). :(


It's probably not up to Universal, they're just the distributors and I know that it's on their schedule of available releases (from someone who works there). It's up to exhibitors to request it. The Astor (Melbourne) and Cremorne Orpheum (Sydney) are the most likely candidates.
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BLU RAY?

PostSun May 29, 2016 2:36 am

Dear all

Much as I appreciate all the fine reviews of this restoration, I would be most grateful if somebody on this board might indicate when UNIVERSAL plans on releasing this, on Blu-ray.

I ask, merely because the chance of this restoration ever being screened in the cinemas here in the UK are remote to say the least and there are many many buffs here who are just longing to see it.

As we are the poor relations as far as TCM are concerned, we won't even see it on TV either!

So if there is anybody visiting Nitrateville who has the "in" on a possible release date for DVD/BLU...I would be eternally in your debt!

Thank you in advance.

BGC
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostSun May 29, 2016 5:04 am

Regarding screening rental of the newly restored KING OF JAZZ...

Universal is making the film available on DCP widely, but like any other rentals the studio does NOT do the job of seeking out screenings. Those requests have to come from the interested venue. So no reason not to think --- like WHY BE GOOD? and other recent restorations --- it will not be shown at interested venues that take the initiative to book it, including Australia and England. I am aware of several theatres that have already made the arrangements.

Emails from interested fans does not book the film. Anyone having an actual DCP equipped venue seriously interested in booking KING OF JAZZ can contact me by direct message for the direct contact in Hollywood if the theatre doesn't already have it.

As to DVD/BluRay, as is usual, expect an extended period of screenings worldwide before any announcement (like WINGS, WHY BE GOOD? etc.) is made.
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostSun May 29, 2016 1:03 pm

Let me add to what Ron is saying ... I curate the film series for the Flint Institute of Arts in Michigan, and have looked seriously into the possibility of booking KING OF JAZZ, probably for one or two weekend screenings in September. But I had to contact Universal, as I do with the rights holders for almost all of our bookings ... sometimes we are solicited, but usually we have to reach out to the distributor.

I am trying to get the word out -- as especially in these parts (Flint and Detroit, which is an hour away) the potential audience is a fraction of that for NYC or L.A. -- before pulling the trigger on a booking, so if you're interested in KOJ in the Upper Midwest, let me know. :)

vitaphone wrote:Regarding screening rental of the newly restored KING OF JAZZ...

Universal is making the film available on DCP widely, but like any other rentals the studio does NOT do the job of seeking out screenings. Those requests have to come from the interested venue. So no reason not to think --- like WHY BE GOOD? and other recent restorations --- it will not be shown at interested venues that take the initiative to book it, including Australia and England. I am aware of several theatres that have already made the arrangements.

Emails from interested fans does not book the film. Anyone having an actual DCP equipped venue seriously interested in booking KING OF JAZZ can contact me by direct message for the direct contact in Hollywood if the theatre doesn't already have it.

As to DVD/BluRay, as is usual, expect an extended period of screenings worldwide before any announcement (like WINGS, WHY BE GOOD? etc.) is made.
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Re: LONG AWAITED "KING OF JAZZ" RESTORATION BEGINS IN 2012

PostThu Jun 30, 2016 8:37 am

Here's another over-the-top clip from K of J, looking wonderful; "Happy Shoes" with Bing Crosby, posted to promote the Bologna festival:

http://video.repubblica.it/spettacoli-e ... 380/243421

David Shepard
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