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Louis Armstrong in the Movies, 1931–1969

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From the late 1930s on, Louis Armstrong (1901–71) was one of the very few African Americans to appear regularly in Hollywood films. He could always be counted on to enliven a movie, and he saved several from oblivion. He appeared in 28 full‐length films plus several short features from 1931 to 1969, and the various roles he played contribute to the history of the African American in cinema. The Armstrong movies also stand as a history of the struggle to win respect for jazz, along with the corollary themes of classical music versus jazz, and new jazz versus old jazz. As a bonus, in many of these films Armstrong also plays a pivotal role in helping the white star overcome musical and/or personal difficulties.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2006


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