Ossus Library Index Young Indy Index

MYSTERY OF THE BLUES

Directed by Carl Schultz (1999, Lucasfilm)
Starring Sean Patrick Flannery and Harrison Ford (guest cast)

Indy discovers Jazz and the Blues from some of the greatest, while also crossing paths with Al Capone.

 

 

4 stars

August 16th, 2014 on DVD for the 3rd time  
   

I loved most the jam session where Indy tries to play with the band, and they turn Turkey in the Straw into various melodies; it's inspiring and amazing, and quite hilarious. The rest of the story is really well done, also. It's true that Indy doesn't bring anyone to justice, but most people don't. The title of the movie describes exactly what he will learn, and it's a lot of fun getting there. My only real complaint is that the amazing jazz/blues band disappears for most of the second half, when the boys are investigating Al Capone.

 

 

4 stars

November 19th, 1999 on Video for the second time  
   

This is my first rerun of any of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and I discovered how much I miss this show!  The drama was great, there was the quick wit of so many characters, the naiveté of young Indy himself, and all the action and car chases you could want.

Indy has returned from World War I, the Great War, and is in college, waitering at an Italian restaurant in Chicago to make a living.  There a jazz band plays, and he seems to spend more time listening to them than waitering.  He tries and eventually makes friends with the lead band member, Sid Bechet, who gives him a soprano saxophone and teaches him about Jazz.  The greatest scenes with this plot thread are when Sid teaches Indy how to play Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star, and Indy keeps playing it over and over, bland at first, then inserting some Jazz improvisation.  Great stuff. 

Indy also gets a lesson about black and white folk during this episode, because Sid is, of course, black.  Indy seems to be the only one who doesn't notice any difference between the blacks and whites.  The whites frown on him for crossing onto the black side of the beach, the blacks ignore or stare at him when he enters a blacks-only club or a black church.  Right away, Indy is lost; he doesn't understand the prejudice, and is at a loss at how to interpret it.

While at one of these clubs, Indy is told that although he knows how to play jazz, he doesn't know how to play the Blues.  He doesn't understand.  But Sid says it is a state of mind, a state of "why does the world have to be this way".

When his boss is killed in an apparent robbery, Indy, Ernest Hemmingway and Elliot Ness try to solve the mystery.  They discover some bootlegging "lemonade", get chased and shot at, and are brought before a Chicago gangster, who advises them not to stick their noses where they don’t belong.  Eventually, they discover Al Capone is the one who they are looking for.  But the police aren't interested. 

Tossed out of the police station, dumbfounded and at a complete loss, Indy is suddenly ready to play the blues.

It was fun to watch Hemmingway and Ness, because they are complete opposites.  Ness was the most nerdy of all, not drinking the alcohol because he ordered water, totally uneasy about breaking and entering, and totally aghast at the policeman when he tears up their evidence.  This is probably exactly what Ness was like as a youngster. 

The show was completely enjoyable, and the music was great, too.  I loved the jazz and blues they played.  I wish I had more of it.  Maybe it's time to go to the music store and look up Sid. 

For now, I can't wait to watch the next adventure of Young Indy!

 

  Guest Cast: Jeffrey Wright as Sidney Bechet
Keith David as King Oliver
Byron Stripling as Louis Armstrong
Ray Serra as Jimmy Colosimo
Frank Vincent as Johnny Torrio
Nicholas Turturro Jr. as Al Capone
Frederick Weller as Elliot Ness
Mark Keily as Ben Hecht
Barry Bell as Charles McArthur
Jay Underwood as Ernest Hemmingway
 
   

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