Newest Reviews
Laguna Ave.
Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11
Flag Day
Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster
Nest, The
Martin Eden
Halloween Kills
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Forever Purge, The
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Deadly Games
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
No Time to Die
Newest Articles
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
  Ballad in Blue Blind Faith
Year: 1964
Director: Paul Henreid
Stars: Ray Charles, Tom Bell, Mary Peach, Dawn Addams, Piers Bishop, Betty McDowall, Lucy Appleby, Joe Adams, Robert Lee Ross, Anne Padwick, Monika Henreid, Brendan Agnew, Vernon Hayden, Leo McCabe, The Raelettes
Genre: Drama, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ray Charles (as himself) is in London to play some concert dates and entertain his fans, but he also finds time for good works as he visits a school for the blind. Being sightless himself, he is only too happy to hold an impromptu concert for the children, as they enthusiastically join him on the choruses of Hit the Road Jack, but one little boy, David (Piers Bishop) is not so willing to accompany his classmates. When it's time to go, Ray is shown out by his assistant Fred (Joe Adams) but not before they get to talking to the boy's mother Peggy (Mary Peach)...

Yes, there was a film where Ray Charles starred in rather than appearing as a guest artist, although it wasn't much of a stretch for him because he simply had to show up, recite his lines, and generally appear to be a solid, decent chap. When he wasn't revolutionising popular music or flying planes while high on heroin, Ray was, according to this, a very charitable fellow, as he is only too happy to look after those less advantaged than he is, so he takes David under his wing after a fashion, and teaches Peggy a lesson in parenting in the process. The point is that while you should do all you can to assist the disabled, you should allow them to stand up for themselves as well.

That was the idea director Paul Henreid, best known for being the noble freedom fighter side of the love triangle in Casablanca, was wishing to put across in a film which looked to all intents and purposes like one of those earnest dramas emerging from the United Kingdom at this time, except this had a music megastar in it as an angelic figure to wave his magic wand and set the world to rights. So what you had was a rather stern lesson wrapped up in a wish-fulfilment fantasy, and hard to take entirely seriously for one reason or another. Certainly you could take the music seriously as every so often there was a break in the narrative to allow Charles to take to the piano once again, and these scenes were the best in the picture.

What was not such a blessing was the unfortunate presence of Bishop, here in the supposedly heartstring-tugging role of the blind boy but demonstrating such meagre talent in the acting department that his amateurish line readings were an active distraction. He even ruins one concert sequence because Henreid chose to superimpose his phizzog over the shots of Ray pounding away on the keyboard, making it hard to enjoy the music when David's oblivious features are looming large in the frame. Anyway, he does serve one useful purpose in that he's the catalyst for his mother getting her act together and allowing him his independence (how old was he? Six or seven?!).

Along with that growing confidence in her boy, Ray also guides her too casual boyfriend Steve (Tom Bell) to a better life as well; Steve is also a pianist, or Bell mimes to an actual pianist on the soundtrack at any rate, so the soul star offers him a job and in spite of his slack ways, he accepts, thereby bringing him closer to Peggy for that happy ending (her husband having died a few years before, this just piles on the heartache, I can tell you). Peach's main claim to fame is not for a role she played, but one she didn't as she was meant to take over from Diana Rigg on The Avengers, but she missed out when they chose Linda Thorson instead. As for this, Ballad in Blue remains a footnote in the careers of all concerned, especially Charles whose best known film appearance was in The Blues Brothers, but if he is understandably not the most natural of actors, he did have presence, especially when Henreid stages the numbers with black and white jazzy flair. Just a pity the vehicle which top-billed him tended to elicit unintended giggles.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3067 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: