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Swanee River (1939)

 |  Drama  |  5 January 1940 (USA)
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More fictional than factual biography of Stephen Foster. Songwriter from Pittsburgh falls in love with the South, marries a Southern gal (Leeds), then is accused of sympathizing when the ... See full summary »



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Title: Swanee River (1939)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Andrea Leeds ...
Felix Bressart ...
Russell Hicks ...
Andrew McDowell
George Reed ...
Old Joe, McDowell's Coachman
Richard Clarke ...
Tom Harper
Diane Fisher ...
Marion Foster
George P. Breakston ...
Al Herman ...
Charles Trowbridge ...
Mr. Foster
George Meeker ...
Henry Foster
Leona Roberts ...
Mrs. Foster
Charles Tannen ...
Morrison Foster


More fictional than factual biography of Stephen Foster. Songwriter from Pittsburgh falls in love with the South, marries a Southern gal (Leeds), then is accused of sympathizing when the Civil War breaks out. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


YOU"LL Thrill To the Songs...the Romances of STEPHEN FOSTER!! See more »







Release Date:

5 January 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Life of Stephen Foster  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The last credited on screen performance of Al Jolson. See more »


The film's final scene is wholly inaccurate; there was no performance by E.P. Christy on the day that Foster died. In reality, Christy actually died nearly two years before Foster; he committed suicide by throwing himself from a window at his home in New York City in May 1862; Foster himself died in January 1864. See more »


Remade as I Dream of Jeanie (1952) See more »


Gwine to Rune All Night
aka "De Camptown Races"
Written by Stephen Foster
See more »

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User Reviews

Don Ameche Redeems a Cumbersome Bio-Pic
26 October 2003 | by (Ottawa) – See all my reviews

"Swanee River", an extravagant Fox production directed by Sidney Lanfield, is one of those polished, ambitious and somewhat cumbersome biographies of notable figures that were frequent in late 30s and early 40s in Hollywood. Along with this one, there were pictures like "Story of Alexander Graham Bell", "Abe Lincoln in Illinois", "Life of Emile Zola", "Lillian Russell", and "Juarez". Don Ameche, a talented actor and performer who has a great dynamic presence on the screen, redeems this sternly stolid and schmaltzy biography of the legendary composer Stephen Foster. Al Jolson co-stars, and continues to sing his "Mammy" renditions, but they ultimately stick in your throat and become lifeless. I didn't care for Stephen Foster, though I have to admit I really liked his tunes. But in all honesty, I kept watching "Swanee River" because of Ameche.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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