Bix (film)

Bix is a 1991 Italian drama film about the final years of cornet player Bix Beiderbecke. It was directed by Pupi Avati and was entered into the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.[1]

Film poster
Directed byPupi Avati
Produced byPupi Avati
Gianfranco Piccioli
Written byPupi Avati
Antonio Avati
Fred Chalfy
Lino Patruno
StarringBryant Weeks
CinematographyPasquale Rachini
Edited byAmedeo Salfa
Release date
  • 15 May 1991 (1991-05-15)
Running time
100 minutes


Bryant Weeks plays American jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke in an account of his life. Mark Sovel plays his friend and collaborator sax saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer. The film focuses on his conflicts with his family and his relations with the prominent jazz musicians of the 1920s, such as Hoagy Carmichael, Joe Venuti, Pee Wee Russell, Don Murray, and Paul Whiteman.

The film opens in October, 1931 in New York City, two months after the death of Bix Beiderbecke. His brother Burnie arrives in the city to meet Liza, who was to be the future bride of the deceased brother. His investigations of where Bix worked led him to the Italian-American violinist Joe Venuti, the trumpeter's only true friend and therefore unique in knowing the truth and the identity of the girl. Venuti, despite the initial hesitation, decides to help him in the investigation. He contacts the girl and convinces her to follow him to the trumpeter's hometown, Davenport, Iowa, thus fulfilling Bix's mother's desire, who is eager to meet her.

During the long train journey, however, it turns out that Liza never met Bix. Venuti will take advantage of it to tell her, in addition to the way in which Bix came into contact with her, the short but intense life of his friend, who he had met by chance while trying to get an engagement in the Jean Goldkette orchestra. He was hampered by the fact that he could not read music but played by ear. Bix achieved success when he performed and recorded with the orchestra of Frank Trumbauer who, despite his somewhat peculiar character, took him under his protective wing.

The film ends with Bix's untimely death in 1931 in New York City after the ravages of alcohol abuse.


  • Bryant Weeks as Leon Bismark 'Bix' Beiderbecke, a cornet and piano player (1903-1931)
  • Emile Levisetti as Joe Venuti, a jazz violin player, Bix' friend
  • Brenda K. Mohr as Joe Venuti's girlfriend
  • Julia Ewing as Agatha 'Aggie' Beiderbecke, Bix' mother
  • Mark Collver as Burnie Beiderbecke, Bix' brother
  • Romano Orzari as Hoagy Carmichael, a pianist and jazz band leader
  • Matthew Buzzell as Don Murray, a jazz clarinettist
  • Ray Edelstein as Bismark Beiderbecke, Bix' father
  • Mark Sovel as Frankie Trumbauer, a jazz saxophone player
  • Barbara Wilder as Marie Louise Beiderbecke, Bix' sister
  • Sally Groth as Liza, Bix' alleged fiancĂ©e
  • Michael T. Henderson as Pee Wee Russell, a jazz clarinettist
  • Timothy L. Williams as Esten
  • Debbon Ayer as Vera Cox
  • Darrell Bishop as Andy Secrest, a jazz cornet player
  • Curtis N. Wollan as Paul Whiteman, a jazz band leader


  1. "Festival de Cannes: Bix". Retrieved 9 August 2009.
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