Bye Bye Blues
Bye Bye Blues (1989) is an unapologetic WORLD WAR II romance set to the music of a Prairie swing band. Daisy (Rebecca JENKINS) and her husband Teddy (Michael Ontkean) are living in colonial luxury in pre-war India when he is transferred to Singapore, and Daisy is sent home to Alberta with their two children and an old piano, her only worldly possession. With the fall of Singapore, Daisy is left stranded in a community just barely out of the dust bowl of the Depression, with her God-fearing parents, impulsive, fun-loving sister-in-law (Robyn Stevan) and no news of her husband. In need of work, she is soon playing piano and singing with a local dance band, earning much-needed extra dollars as the band travels around Alberta, performing at air training bases. She's drawn to the handsome Max (Luke Reilly), one of the boys in the band, leaving her loyalties to Teddy seriously strained. What if he is still alive?
Daisy has to make her way in a man's world, trying to keep body and soul together, discovering at the same time that she takes pleasure in performing. And here Rebecca Jenkins shines. She is in virtually every scene of the movie, and her growth from an unsure newcomer onstage to rousing, lift-the-roof performances of the title song and When I Sing is entirely believable and full of life. Just as the band is about to embark on another tour, Teddy returns, weakened and recovering from years as a prisoner of war. Daisy has to make a choice not only between career and family, but between an old and a new love.
Director Anne WHEELER's most famous and honoured film is a delicate, upbeat melodrama based on her mother's wartime memories. Beautifully shot by cinematographer Vic Sarin, it is bittersweet and poignant, with fine performances by Rebecca Jenkins and Robyn Stevan. Bye Bye Blues made Jenkins a star, and was nominated for 13 Genie Awards, including film, director and screenplay. It won for actress (Jenkins), supporting actress (Stevan), and song.