Maxine Sullivan: Love to Be in Love

What the Critics are Saying

A wonderful mix of entertainment and music history. — Booklist (American Library Association)

Selected Festivals, Awards and TV Broadcasts

  • Melbourne Film Festival

  • Wellington International Film Festival

  • New York JVC Jazz Festival

  • American Film and Video Festival (Honorable Mention)

  • Toronto Jazz Film Festival

  • Sinking Creek Film Festival (Honorable Mention)

  • Broadcast in France, Britain, Germany and Yugoslavia”, BBC

About the Film

Maxine Sullivan: Love to Be In Love” is a lyrical film portrait of the once famous, and now, largely forgotten jazz vocalist Maxine Sullivan. Sullivan won fame in the 1930s with swing renditions of traditional songs like “Loch Lomond” and “Annie Laurie.”

By the late 1930s Sullivan became one of the foremost women in jazz. A black, female vocalist in America, she inspired a generation of young musicians like Ella Fitzgerald. Though largely absent from the jazz scene in the 1950s, she returned to perform in the late 1960s, at one point turning out an album every three months. She never retired and continued to work till her death in 1987.

Film footage, vintage photographs, reminiscences by jazz luminaries, as well as Sullivan’s wonderfully seductive music are used to tell her story and document her place in jazz history. Featuring interviews with pianist Marian McPartland of NPR’s Piano Jazz and tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton (Blue Note Records).

Maxine Sullivan: Love to Be In Love” made its theatrical premiere at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and the Film Forum, New York.

Featuring Scott Hamilton and Marion McPartland. Produced and directed by Greta Schiller. Produced in association with Channel Four UK and La Sept, France.

DVD includes all three titles: “International Sweethearts Of Rhythm”, “Tiny & Ruby: Hell Divin’ Women” and “Maxine Sullivan: Love To Be In Love” and includes bonus interview with the filmmakers at Lincoln Center, New York, on the 20th Anniversary release of the newly restored master, hosted by New York Women in Film and TV.

Pricing and Viewing Options

Home Use


Institutional/Educational Streaming