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      The Jolson Story

      Released Oct 10, 1946 2 hr. 8 min. Biography List
      100% 5 Reviews Tomatometer 79% 1,000+ Ratings Audience Score At the turn of the 20th century, young Asa Yoelson (Scotty Beckett) decides to go against the wishes of his cantor father (Ludwig Donath) and pursue a career in show business. Gradually working his way up through the vaudeville ranks, Asa -- now calling himself Al Jolson (Larry Parks) -- joins a blackface minstrel troupe and soon builds a reputation as a consummate performer. But as his career grows in size, so does his ego, resulting in battles in business as well as in his personal life. Read More Read Less

      Audience Reviews

      View All (43) audience reviews
      Audience Member A pretty enjoyable film with a good performance from Larry Parks but which also has some overacting and a weak ending. I am only familiar with Al Jolson in regards to the first talking picture; The Jazz Singer. However, I didn't know much else about him before watching the film. The plot of the film is quite cookie cutter, but Larry Parks performance kept me engaged throughout the film. He was deservedly nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his performance. William Demarest was also nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category. However, though he was good, he was not as good as the other nominated performances I have seen; Russell and Rains. The cinematography in the film was quite good but I believe could have been improved upon. The ending of the film did not make much sense to me. Jolson's wife walks out on him because he was forced to sing in a nightclub after being in retirement for two years. He justification for leaving was that he looked too happy while performing even though what he was doing was a performance. It just made no sense. Overall, though, quite an enjoyable film with good performances and dance numbers. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/11/23 Full Review steve d Fails to provide any insight or entertainment. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member The best musical movie ever made! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/26/23 Full Review Audience Member a nice look into the life of an entertainment legend in his time Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/13/23 Full Review Audience Member wonderful Film - excellent Castings. I've seen it many times. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/22/23 Full Review Audience Member Historically inaccurate, but the music is good. Allegedly the story of the life of Al Jolson, but is biographical and accurate only in the Hollywood sense. Far too much poetic license is taken with the plot, to the point that after a while you wonder if anything you saw is true. the biggest example of this is the implication that Jolson was first married, to Julie Benson, around the time he made The Jazz Singer (1927). He did get married, to Ruby Keeler, in 1928, but this was his third marriage! Wouldn't want to ruin the "hero eventually meets his perfect one after putting his career first and much disappointment, dating-wise" plot you figured would work on audiences, would you now, Hollywood? I guess the fact that her name was changed should be a clue that this is a work of fiction... The "happily ever after" ending was also fictional, as they divorced in 1940, six years before the movie was made. On the positive side, some good music and stage performances. On that note, Larry Parks is kind of hit-and-miss as Al Jolson. His stage performances are good, and seem to portray well the larger-than-life, complete entertainer nature of Al Jolson. However, in the off-stage scenes he comes across as overbearing, overly energetic, phony and downright irritating. If you are interested in the correct history of Al Jolson, don't watch this. Watch a History Channel documentary instead, or just read Wikipedia. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/20/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Critics Reviews

      View All (5) Critics Reviews
      Jack Moffitt Esquire Magazine The Jolson Story says that most show people have the same struggles, the same desire for a home, and the same love of family that motivate other Americans. Oct 7, 2020 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com A vastly entertaining, but cliche ridden and fictionalized biopic of the legendary performer Rated: B- Jun 13, 2011 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews It has the music alright, but the dramatics are corny, tiresome and not reliable. Rated: B- Dec 30, 2007 Full Review Michael E. Grost Classic Film and Television Strange biography with some rousing music numbers. Aug 9, 2007 Full Review Ken Hanke Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) Not a lot of relation to the truth, but with all those Jolson songs on the soundtrack it hardly matters. Rated: 4/5 Mar 8, 2004 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis At the turn of the 20th century, young Asa Yoelson (Scotty Beckett) decides to go against the wishes of his cantor father (Ludwig Donath) and pursue a career in show business. Gradually working his way up through the vaudeville ranks, Asa -- now calling himself Al Jolson (Larry Parks) -- joins a blackface minstrel troupe and soon builds a reputation as a consummate performer. But as his career grows in size, so does his ego, resulting in battles in business as well as in his personal life.
      Director
      Alfred E. Green
      Distributor
      Columbia Pictures
      Genre
      Biography
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Oct 10, 1946, Original
      Release Date (DVD)
      Oct 21, 2003
      Sound Mix
      Stereo