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Swanee River (1939)

 |  Drama  |  5 January 1940 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 96 users  
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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)

Swanee River (1939) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

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

Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Story of Stephen C. Foster - The Great American Troubadour See more »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 January 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Life of Stephen Foster  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 2, 1945 with Al Jolson reprising his film role. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Love Letter to Edie (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night
Written by Stephen Foster
See more »

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User Reviews

No Way
22 November 2001 | by (LA CA) – See all my reviews

Proof that not every 1939 release was part of the Golden Age. It's the life and not-so-hard times of Stephen Foster (Don Ameche), who despite a heart condition and a taste for the drink manages to crank out hit after hit. This is the cliched sort of composer bio in which every key event turns out to be instant inspiration for a new ditty, and the moment an on-screen audience hears a new song it can immediately join in for a reprise and know all the words. Still, Al Jolson is sturdy as E.P. Christy, the Technicolor is ravishing, and there are several convincing recreations of minstrel show numbers...and that last fact is why you won't see this film around, no way.

It's just not P.C. to show all that blackface any more, let alone the condescending approach to black people. (When Foster has ripped off "Oh Susannah" from a slave work song but is stuck on the last line, Jeannie--she of the light brown hair fame--comments that she's grown up among black music, their simple culture..."Hmmm...Here's how I think the Negroes would end it." Bingo, smash hit.) "Swanee River" is no great shakes as a movie, but it's a shame that people can't see it because of cowardice.


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