(Optimum DVD retail)
The late Paul Newman is jazz performer Ram Bowen in this laidback drama of left bank insouciance from 1964, directed by Martin Hud Ritt. Ram hangs out in Paris with fellow American musician Eddie Cook (Sidney Poitier). They meet a couple of American girls on a two-week break. They all hang out together, with Ram teaming up with Lillian (Joanne Woodward) and Eddie with Connie (Diahann Carroll). With its hints of documentary realism and pleasing use of a wintry French capital, Paris Blues is a film of incidental pleasures, accidentally detailing, as it does, the burgeoning of an all too real relationship between Newman and Woodward and an affair between the married Poitier and Carroll. Gossip, perhaps, but there is a nice intimacy, here, as though the film were working out the problem of commitment in work and in life, as Ram wonders whether committing to Lillian will scupper his creativity, while Eddie wonders if his reluctance to return stateside proves he is running away from his responsibilities to both Connie and his race: she wants him to go back to America and fight for the rights of African Americans. Paris Blues is a real historical curio. Minimal extras.