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Not historially accurate, but a nice portrayal by Sal Mineo. He worked with Krupa for about 2 years before filming began. The only true flaw is that the melody is a 1950's ver of 1930's swing/jazz, and none of Krupa's hits of the 40's were really included. Nonetheless, the melody is very good, with Mineo mimicing extremely accurately Krups's off screen drumming.
If you've ever wanted to be a drummer this is the movie for you. Even if the sounds of percussion instruments leave you with a pounding headache, it's still a nice movie to watch, for the acting and for the general atmosphere the movie evokes.With a straightforward, linear plot, "The Gene Krupa Story" highlights some of the career happenings of the legendary drummer, from his high school days in Chicago until his arrival from the depths, following an unfortunate incident in San Francisco. Krupa comes across in the movie as outgoing, ambitious, single-minded, determined, and unable to handle success.The storyline spans roughly a twenty year period from the late 1920s to the late 1940. Sal Mineo has the game role ... and what an acting job! In scenes with dialogue, his performance is intense, subtle, and very convincing. But, when Mineo mimics Krupa's frenetic drum solos, Mineo's performance is electrifying.Both Susan Kohner as Krupa's love interest, and Susan Oliver as a femme fatale with attitude, further elevate the overall acting level. And the B&W cinematography from Charles Lawton, Jr., combined with smoke filled rooms and jazzy/blues music, is wonderfully suggestive of the beat generation of the 1950s, even though we are supposed to trust that it is an earlier era.On the downside, the storyline is only partly factual. Production values are hardly better than average, and the editing is at times sloppy. The movie has an inexplicably abrupt ending.Overall, I suggest this movie for the jazzy atmosphere of a bygone era, and especially for the high quality acting. "The Gene Krupa Story" is worth watching, if for no another reason than to marvel at Sal Mineo's ability to bang the drum briskly.
Sal Mineo, who made a career of played conflicted people, does a superb job in the biography of legendary drummer Gene Krupa.Mineo, as Krupa, gets unbelievable help from James Darren and Susan Kohner. 1959 was a remarkable year for Miss Kohner. It was that year where she received a greatest helping actress nomination as the troubled daughter of Lana Turner's maid in that nice movie "Imitation of Life."Krupa's family wanted him to enter the priesthood. However, Gene's calling was for being a drummer. As is the situation with so many talented people, success came quickly and unable to handle it, Krupa descended into a life of drinking and using reefers. At a time, when there were investigations revolving about musicians and drugs, Krupa's career suffered from his conviction and serving time in prison.While Mineo at age 20, may have been too young for the part, he does a very credible job as the tormented youth. Kohner, as his girlfriend, Ethel, never gave up on him even though he literally walked out on her before his troubles again. As she did in "Imitation of Life," Kohner shows her own emotional conflict. Her early retirement from movies deprived Hollywood of an perfect talent. We also lost a nice talent, when Mineo, who would receive possibly the greatest part of his career as Dov Landau,the following year, in "Exodus," was murdered in 1976.Lawrence Dobkin, who in 1959, was an necessary user in the tv series "The Untouchables," scores well here as a protégé of Krupa. Celia Lovsky, who was so memorable in many old films, usually portraying elderly women, was unbelievable in 2 scenes in portraying Krupa's disappointed but loving mother. Of course, a Jewish girl testing a Catholic mother, might have raised some eyebrows at that time.This is an perfect movie where the social mores of the time derailed Krupa's nice talent and career.
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