New Orleans (1947 film)

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New Orleans
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Arthur Lubin
Produced by Jules Levey
Herbert Biberman
Screenplay by Elliot Paul
Dick Irving Hyland
Story by Elliot Paul
Herbert J. Biberman
Starring Arturo de Córdova
Dorothy Patrick
Marjorie Lord
Billie Holiday
Louis Armstrong
Woody Herman
Music by Nat W. Finston
Woody Herman
Cinematography Lucien Andriot
Majestic Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • April 18, 1947 (1947-04-18) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English

New Orleans is a 1947 American musical romance film featuring Billie Holiday as a singing maid and Louis Armstrong as a bandleader; supporting players Holiday and Armstrong perform together and portray a couple becoming romantically involved. During one song, Armstrong's character introduces the members of his band, a virtual Who's Who of classic jazz greats, including trombonist Kid Ory, drummer Zutty Singleton, clarinetist Barney Bigard, guitar player Bud Scott, bassist George "Red" Callender, pianist Charlie Beal, and pianist Meade Lux Lewis. Also performing in the film is cornetist Mutt Carey and bandleader Woody Herman. The music, however, takes a back seat to a rather conventional plot. The movie stars Arturo de Córdova and Dorothy Patrick, features Marjorie Lord, and was directed by Arthur Lubin.

Plot synopsis[edit]

A casino owner and a high society singer fall in love during the birth of the blues in New Orleans.


New Orleans has its origins in an abandoned component of an unfinished RKO Pictures feature film by Orson Welles — "The Story of Jazz" segment of It's All True. A history of jazz alternatively titled "Jam Session", the section of the film was being written by Elliot Paul in 1941 under contract to Welles. The story of Louis Armstrong was to have been central to that segment of It's All True.[1]:29, 282, 325[2]:138–139

An additional connection to Welles is that several members of the film's Original New Orleans Ragtime Band — Kid Ory, Mutt Carey, Bud Scott, Barney Bigard and Zutty Singleton — had first been brought together in 1944, for his CBS Radio series, The Orson Welles Almanac.[2]:138–139

New Orleans is the only feature film made by singer Billie Holiday, and the last film in which writer-producer Herbert J. Biberman was involved before he was blacklisted.[3]


The credits for New Orleans are detailed at the AFI Catalog of Feature Films.[3]

Home media[edit]


Although most of the music created for New Orleans was truncated in the film's release version,[5]:117 a soundtrack issued in 1983 made the full versions of the songs available, with additional music cut from the final release.[3][6] Songs include "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?"


  1. ^ Benamou, Catherine L., It's All True: Orson Welles's Pan-American Odyssey. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007 ISBN 978-0-520-24247-0
  2. ^ a b Stowe, David Ware, Swing Changes: Big-Band Jazz in New Deal America. Cambridge, Massachusetts [u.a.]: Harvard University Press, 1998, ISBN 9780674858268
  3. ^ a b c "New Orleans". American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures. Retrieved 2014-03-24. 
  4. ^ "New Orleans". Kino Lorber Home Video. Archived from the original on 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-24. 
  5. ^ Bergan, Ronald, The United Artists Story. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1986, ISBN 0-517-56100X
  6. ^ "New Orleans Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-03-24. 

External links[edit]