FINALLY ON DVD!!!! Release more Mineo flicks on DVD!
John Seger | Los Angeles, CA USA | 06/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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"
One Of Sal Mineo's Finest Performances
Simon Davis | 06/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For jazz and music lovers "The Gene Krupa Story", is unsurpassed entertainment of the first order and contains some of the best ever work by talented actor Sal Mineo. Sal took on his first real solo starring role in this biography of the legendary Gene Krupa who as the percussionist for the Benny Goodman Quartet became the first real jazz heartthrob developing a legion of besotted fans. A major part of his legend was his innovative playing of the drums and in this film Sal Mineo manages to recreate that special magic, with some of the most amazing precussion work ever caught on screen. Having gained stardom for his sensational work in "Rebel Without a Cause", Sal Mineo was at just the right age and level of acting experience to tackle this major acting role and to his credit he manages all the stages in Krupa's life in a totally believable manner with a minimum of sentiment. Mineo's level of understanding of both the sheer genius of Krupa's ability and also his darker personal side makes for a wonderful screen performance that stays in the mind and makes "The Gene Krupa Story", a viewing experience to treasure.
The film traces Krupa's life from his humble beginnings in Chicago as the youngest child of working class parents who live by the rules of traditional life based around family and the church. We get a very early glimpse of the conflict already existing in young Gene when he brings home a set of drums which his angry father smashes as unsuitable for his son to be wasting his time on. After his father's death Gene however bows to the expectations of his family and joins the priesthood but after a year realises that it is not the life for him. He joins up with friend Eddie Sirota (James Darren) and his band and begins playing in many of Chicago's speakeasies. Eddie has a girlfriend Ethel (Susan Kohner), however soon a real attraction develops between her and Gene. Determined to succeed Gene soon pursuades Eddie to make a stab at work in New York's jazz scene. After a rough start and surviving on little money Gene through the force of his personality and sheer talent , manages to get a break which sees him climbing to stardom as the most electrifying performer in New York's big band scene. However stardom with all its adulation and material benefits also reveals its dark side as Gene begins to become involved in the heavy drug and drinking culture of the musicians world. His success also sees him begin to loose sight of the people who are important to him as he becomes alienated from Ethel who after committing herself to Gene finds herself forgotten. Best friend Eddie also drifts away as he doesn't approve of his friends free wheeling drug laden lifestyle. After being set up on a drug charge Gene's world rapidly crumbles before his eyes and he serves a jail term for possession which sees all those people, like selfish singer Dorissa Dinell, supposedly his lover abandon him in his hour of need. Upon release Gene experiences the full force of being considered a "has been", as he is reduced to performing in strip clubs and gambling houses. The hard times however refuel Gene's earlier love of music for the sheer joy of it and ever faithful Ethel comes back into his life as the steadying force she always was in the hard times. The conclusion sees Gene reunited with Eddie's band and setting out on a new life as the talented drummer that he is but this time with a more level view of what is important in life, which in his case is the devoted love of Ethel.Sal Mineo is perfectly cast as Gene Krupa and he actually received the wholehearted blessing of the jazz legend to play him in the film. Mineo worked with Krupa to perfect his drum playing and the result on screen is sensational as Sal Mineo gives his heart and sole to his playing. The drum playing was actually recorded by Krupa however Mineo had the difficult task of matching that on screen which he does admirably. Totally devoted to perfecting his craft as an actor Mineo died far too young and sadly saw his star eclipsed long before it should have. This film along with "Rebel Without A Cause", and "Exodus", among others is this talented actors legacy to the movie going public and he will be remembered always for his great work in them. The supporting cast is uniformily fine with James Darren as Krupa's best friend Eddie, the before mentioned Susan Kohner as Ethel, and Susan Oliver in the hard driven role of Dorissa really shining and they perfectly compliment Sal Mineo's work. Appearances by real life jazz performers Buddy Lester, Red Nichols and Anita day also add an authentic ring to the story depicted. Character actress Celia Lovsky also has a memorable role as Gene's disapproving mother who is mystified by her son's obsession with the drums. The photography in "The Gene Krupa Story", is top flight with the often seedy black and white photography highly effective in particular in both Gene's pre stardom scenes and those depicted in his fall from grace when much of the action takes place in seedy "greyish", surroundings. Mineo's supreme concentration on his playing of the drums is a marvel to watch and is guaranteed to leave you breathless.The great thing about "The Gene Krupa Story", is that you dont have to be a jazz enthusiast to enjoy the story or the music. For any lover of the drums it makes compulsory viewing and the golden age of jazz in the 30's is authentically recreated in this Columbia studios production. For me the best thing about the film will always be seeing the extraordinary talent of Sal Mineo on display. He combines strength and a touching vulnerability in his playing of Gene Krupa that leaves you rooting for him right through. I highly recommend this film to all lovers of jazz/swing and to those that like the less sentimental kind of performer film biography. Enjoy Sal Mineo at his electrifying best in "Columbia's "The Gene Krupa Story"."
DANIEL MILES | FOUNTAIN HILLS, ARIZONA United States | 12/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I find it difficult to understand why so many critics have slammed this movie. Granted it isn't a 100 percent factual account of Krupa's life, but the acting and musical performances are all first rate. Mineo is utterly convincing as a hungry, young jazz drummer obsessed with following his muse and proving himself to the world. I can easily imagine this film inspiring someone to become a drummer (in fact no less a percussion personage than Neil Peart has made that very claim). I doubt the same could be said for the Glenn Miller or Benny Goodman biopics which, though good, are doubtful to inspire a run on trombones or clarinets at the local musical store. If you like jazz, you should definitely check this movie out."
AWESOME! SAL MINEO ROCKS!
veniceguy | Venice Beach, California | 12/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Gene Krupa" is possibly the BEST movie in which SAL MINEO was the picture's main STAR~~A huge Box Office hit in 1959! He studied the drums for 18 months(training with the real Gene Krupa) and although he is playing along onscreen to the REAL Krupa's soundtrack, Mineo's drumming is REAL and leaves you breathless. His acting in this film, as always, is amazing, and the supporting cast is awesome! Featuring the lovely Susan Kohner(who also co-starred in Sal's hit movie version of his tv play, "DINO"), James Darren, and apperances by jazz greats, Anita O'Day, Red Nichols, and Buddy Lester, this is a wonderful biopic sure to thrill jazz lovers, and inspire all generations of future drummers. It's also a wonderful treat for the Sal Mineo fan, especially to see him in something so different than his most famous Oscar nominated role in "Rebel without a cause."(Sal Mineo also was nominated for an Oscar and won the Golden Globe for "EXODUS")"
Outstanding performances and music
firstname.lastname@example.org | United States | 06/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of my all-tme favorite films of Sal Mineo.The music and acting is first rate. Fine performances by Darren,Kohner and Susan Oliver.This movie is a must for all Mineo fans. Truly one of his best."