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The Gene Krupa Story

Sal Mineo , Susan Kohner , Don Weis    DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 95.18
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Reefers!" Oct. 13 2008
By Kona TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Sal Mineo plays big band drummer Gene Krupa from his early days in Chicago to later fame with Jimmy Dorsey's orchestra, followed by his scandalous arrest on drug charges and subsequent black-listing. Mineo is outstanding as the dynamic drummer, capturing his wild, pounding style, stick-syncing to Krupa's actual playing. Handsome James Darren (Gidget) sings a few songs as Gene's stalwart pal and almost steals the show. Susan Kohner gives a strong performance as Gene's long-time girlfriend and future wife.

This bio pic is melodramatic and predictable and has the look of the fifties instead of the thirties, but it's still quite enjoyable thanks to the good actors and electrifying drum solos.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Gene Krupa Story Jan. 21 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Awesome to see these old movies in DVD with Great picture and sound finally! It is one of the best movies ever made!!
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Format:DVD
At long last, "The Gene Krupa story" has been released on DVD by Sony/Columbia home video. Rather than review the actual film, this review concentrates on the DVD format as I am very pleased with this edition! The DVD is nicely packaged with a color picture on the front of the box. The film's glorious black and white has been digitally remastered and the clarity is just amazing. Even more important, the film is presented in full "widescreen" so you can view the film the way it was originally presented in theatres. This allows you to view the entire scope of the screen, instead of having the left and right sides of the screen chopped off into a crappy traditional "square" television format. You can see so much more as we all know how wonderful wide screen is. Although the soundtrack is still "mono," Sony has digitally remastered it, and presents it on this disc in "Dolby Digital." This makes a huge difference as the sound is deeper, lusher, and does great justice to the music. This is simply a beautiful presentation of this film. There are no "special features" such as behind the scenes or out takes, however it does have an interactive menu complete with chapter search. This DVD version of the film blows the old VHS version out of the water! For me, this DVD gave me a fresh new viewpoint of the film. The widescreen format compliments Sal's drumming so much that the VHS version could never come close to doing. I rate this DVD a 10+ on the scale of 1-10! If you love this film as much as I do, BUY THE DVD! Now, if only "Who Killed Teddy Bear" could be released on DVD..Now that would be a treat! I am concluding this review with some technical specs: Screen Formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1 Closed Captioned Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital Mono Original Release Date in theatres: 1959. Released to DVD in May, 2004
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY ON DVD!!!! Release more Mineo flicks on DVD! June 6 2004
By John Seger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
At long last, "The Gene Krupa story" has been released on DVD by Sony/Columbia home video. Rather than review the actual film, this review concentrates on the DVD format as I am very pleased with this edition! The DVD is nicely packaged with a color picture on the front of the box. The film's glorious black and white has been digitally remastered and the clarity is just amazing. Even more important, the film is presented in full "widescreen" so you can view the film the way it was originally presented in theatres. This allows you to view the entire scope of the screen, instead of having the left and right sides of the screen chopped off into a crappy traditional "square" television format. You can see so much more as we all know how wonderful wide screen is. Although the soundtrack is still "mono," Sony has digitally remastered it, and presents it on this disc in "Dolby Digital." This makes a huge difference as the sound is deeper, lusher, and does great justice to the music. This is simply a beautiful presentation of this film. There are no "special features" such as behind the scenes or out takes, however it does have an interactive menu complete with chapter search. This DVD version of the film blows the old VHS version out of the water! For me, this DVD gave me a fresh new viewpoint of the film. The widescreen format compliments Sal's drumming so much that the VHS version could never come close to doing. I rate this DVD a 10+ on the scale of 1-10! If you love this film as much as I do, BUY THE DVD! Now, if only "Who Killed Teddy Bear" could be released on DVD..Now that would be a treat! I am concluding this review with some technical specs: Screen Formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1 Closed Captioned Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital Mono Original Release Date in theatres: 1959. Released to DVD in May, 2004
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GENE KRUPA STORY Feb. 10 2007
By Anthony Horowitz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Any film that features Gene Krupa and Shelly Manne on the track is worth seeing. It would have been nice to have more music included, such as the songs that featured Roy Eldridge, as well as Anita O'Day. Sal Mineo carried off the Krupa role with great style. For swing fans, it's a "must see."
Tony Horowitz
[...]
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I wish it was in color Jan. 15 2007
By M. Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Interesting picture based on the life of Gene Krupa. Sal Mineo is the lead and he's got the timing down, his drumming matches the sound track. It's the only other show I've seen Susan Kohner in besides Imitation of Life. James Darren gets to play a more mature young man as Gene's best friend Eddie Sirota than he plays as Moondoggie. Susan Oliver is good as the bad girl who leads Gene astray.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for Drummers and Jazz Lovers Feb. 18 2005
By T. Kramer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Although just as exagerated as any movie ever made, this is a great lesson in what life was like in the "jazz and swing" era. It touches the realities of parents not wanting their kids to play drums (still happens) and many of the darker topics of the music business. Sal Mineo does a brilliant job portraying the drummer who brought drums into the spotlight for the first time in modern history. Any musician should especially enjoy this.
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One Weird Film-Big Bands for Bobby Soxers Nov. 14 2006
By Only-A-Child - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Imagine that it is 1970 and they have just released "The Frank Sinatra Story" with then 20 year-old David Cassidy playing the Italian crooner from ages 17 through 47. If that sounds weird imagine that the production designer on the film never shows up and they film it as if everything from 1935 to 1965 looks (and everyone talks) like it is set in 1970. Finally imagine that to preserve the 1970's look, all the action takes place inside, with one short scene on an indoor sound stage with fake grass and trees.

That is essentially "The Gene Krupa Story", with bobby soxer heartthrob Sal Mineo replacing Cassidy, Krupa replacing Sinatra, and the look of 1959 replacing 1970. Mineo was the Cassidy of his generation, with about the same level of acting talent but harder working and more willing to take direction.

Like the imagined "Cassidy as Sinatra" film, the idea was to expand the target audience by including someone who would attract teen and pre-teen girls. In this "The Gene Krupa Story" was successful and the film had good box office. The downside was that big band fans generally considered the whole production laughable. My father was a huge Krupa fan and he hated this film with an unprecedented passion. In part for the cheap production design and in part because of Mineo and the reasons for his casting, but largely because of the many factual omissions and distortions. To him the only saving grace was that they used Krupa's actual drumming, to which Mineo is generally in sync although there are times when he is beating a tom and the sound is that of a cymbal.

Like most Hollywood bio movies ("The Lou Gerhig Story", "The Al Jolson Story", etc.) Krupa's mother was violently opposed to her son's ambitions, in this case she and her husband want him to be a priest. But he leaves the seminary to set out for New York with Eddie Sirota (James Darren) and Eddie's composer girlfriend, Ethel (Susan Kohner). After a rough three months Ethel is forced to take a job as a telephone operator and her romantic interest switches to Gene.

Gene's career takes off and he begins running with a fast crowd of 1930's musicians (who sound strangely like a Maynard G. Kreb's take on the 1950's beat scene). A jazz singer named Dorissa Dinell (Susan Oliver) connects him with some dope dealers and the film gets a lot like "Reefer Madness" (but with a 1959 setting). Which may account for a surreal montage of newspaper headlines chronicling his rise to national fame and his fall in a drug bust. There is even an "I told you so" phone call from mom. This has ramifications beyond Krupa as the entire jazz world is outed as dope fiends and corrupter of America's youth. When the chips are down, Dorissa bails on Gene with the classic exit line: "Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a town I'd better get out of." Gene is reduced to playing in strip clubs with other beatnik musicians wearing dark glasses. When it seems like he can't go on another day Ethel re-enters his life and things begin to break his way once again.

For the aging sequences Mineo could draw upon the example James Dean, who he worked with in both "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Giant". Dean was faced with the same challenge in "Giant" and Mineo's attempt here is clearly superior. So much so that what could have been the film's biggest liability is actually a strength. And Mineo successfully mimics Krupa distinctive drumming style and facial expressions, details that he worked on with Krupa himself. There are seven drum solo set pieces, mostly medium shots that capture the spirit if not the actual magic of a Krupa performance.

Susan Kohner shows considerable range in two of her 1959 films, this one and "Imitation of Life". Here she will remind you of Eva Marie Saint's "On the Waterfront" character, a considerable contrast with the overwrought racially conflicted daughter she played in the other film. The likable James Darren (later to star in television's "The Time Tunnel") is a better singer than an actor. His scenes with Mineo are pretty awful, certainly the film's worst moments, and the fault does not lie with Mineo who tends to play up or down to the level of whoever he shares a scene. The hard working Mineo simply did not have enough talent or training to salvage a scene gone bad and really needed to be surrounded by a strong cast to help him sell his characterizations. Susan Oliver ("Butterfield 8") gets the best role and has a lot of fun with her character, benefiting from having almost all of the film's good lines. "Snow me again, junior, because I didn't quite get your drift."

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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