Old Hollywood
Cinema
1900-1979

Nostalgia is a seductive liar - George Wildman Ball
Billie Holiday, 1958. Photographer: Dennis Stock (via)
"I’ve been told that nobody sings the word ‘hunger’ like I do. Or the word ‘love.’ Maybe I remember what those words are all about. Maybe I’m proud enough to want to remember Baltimore and Welfare Island, the Catholic institution and the Jefferson Market Court, the sheriff in front of our place in Harlem and the towns from coast to coast where I got my lumps and scars, Philly and Alderson, Hollywood and San Francisco, every damn bit of it.
All the Cadillacs and minks in the world - and I’ve had a few - can’t make it up or make me forget it. All I’ve learned in all those places from all those people is wrapped up in those two words. You’ve got to have something to eat and a little love in your life before you can hold still for any damn body’s sermon on how to behave. Everything I am and everything I want out of life goes smack back to that.”
-Holiday, quoted in Lady Sings the Blues (1956)

Billie Holiday, 1958. Photographer: Dennis Stock (via)

"I’ve been told that nobody sings the word ‘hunger’ like I do. Or the word ‘love.’ Maybe I remember what those words are all about. Maybe I’m proud enough to want to remember Baltimore and Welfare Island, the Catholic institution and the Jefferson Market Court, the sheriff in front of our place in Harlem and the towns from coast to coast where I got my lumps and scars, Philly and Alderson, Hollywood and San Francisco, every damn bit of it.

All the Cadillacs and minks in the world - and I’ve had a few - can’t make it up or make me forget it. All I’ve learned in all those places from all those people is wrapped up in those two words. You’ve got to have something to eat and a little love in your life before you can hold still for any damn body’s sermon on how to behave. Everything I am and everything I want out of life goes smack back to that.”

-Holiday, quoted in Lady Sings the Blues (1956)

Billie Holiday - (In My) Solitude

Billie Holiday - Good Morning Heartache

Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and Barney Bigard in New Orleans (1947, dir. Arthur Lubin) 
New Orleans featured Holiday’s only major film role. Holiday had several musical numbers in the film, however, she was unhappy that her role was that of a maid. In her autobiography, she wrote: 
"I thought I was going to play myself in it. I thought I was going to be Billie Holiday doing a couple of songs in a nightclub setting and that would be that. I should have known better. When I saw the script, I did. You just tell one Negro girl who’s made movies who didn’t play a maid or a whore. I don’t know any. I found out I was going to do a little singing, but I was still playing the part of a maid."
Some of Holiday’s scenes & performances from the film can be seen here. 

Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and Barney Bigard in New Orleans (1947, dir. Arthur Lubin) 

New Orleans featured Holiday’s only major film role. Holiday had several musical numbers in the film, however, she was unhappy that her role was that of a maid. In her autobiography, she wrote: 

"I thought I was going to play myself in it. I thought I was going to be Billie Holiday doing a couple of songs in a nightclub setting and that would be that. I should have known better. When I saw the script, I did. You just tell one Negro girl who’s made movies who didn’t play a maid or a whore. I don’t know any. I found out I was going to do a little singing, but I was still playing the part of a maid."

Some of Holiday’s scenes & performances from the film can be seen here