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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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Bones
...
Andrew McDowell
George Reed ...
Old Joe, McDowell's Coachman
Richard Clarke ...
Tom Harper
Diane Fisher ...
Marion Foster
George P. Breakston ...
Ambrose
Al Herman ...
Tambo
...
Mr. Foster
...
Henry Foster
Leona Roberts ...
Mrs. Foster
...
Morrison Foster
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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:

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

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

5 January 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Life of Stephen Foster  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The last credited on screen performance of Al Jolson. 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

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

Soundtracks

Oh! Susanna
Written by Stephen Foster
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Enjoy the music and nostalgia
24 October 2006 | by (Tulsa OK) – See all my reviews

In this film's comment section, the one given by "theowinthrop" is particularly on the mark, and I would agree with all of its points. Being from Cincinnati, and attending four years in high school in Louisville, one of my roommates was from Bardstown, Kentucky, the locale of "My Old Kentucky Home," the state park of the same name, and "The Stephen Foster Story," one of the nation's largest outdoor (indoors if rain) dramas. This area is among America's most beautiful, and seeing it just magnifies the already giant irony of the fact that this locale, and others depicted by Foster's work, were from the pen of a man from Pittsburgh, who spent most of his time there, in Cincinnati and New York City - dying in abject poverty in the latter.

Hollywood biopics about composers and musical personalities (e.g. Rodgers & Hart, Kern, Romberg, Duchin, Sousa, and a score of others) are among the most fictionalized genre in any medium. However, this one dwarfs them all. I read a brief review (I believe from Leonard Maltin) remarking that in this flick, every line of dialog seemed to spark a lyric and/or title for a new song.

Jolson's inclusion is interesting to view, especially recalling that this was a time when his tremendous career had reached a point somewhat below its former level. The following years into the 1940's would see its subsequent rejuvenation, the filming of his two highly-popular biographical pictures (they may well run this one a close second for fictional aspects), and his rise to be voted top vocalist again (besting Crosby and Sinatra), only to have ill health overtake him.

Seeing Ameche, who was to enjoy greater longevity than Jolson and many other contemporaries, along with Jolson, is a unique asset of this film. Enjoy this, along with the nostalgic period conveyed (and the sad history of callousness and lack of respect for those of color - both during the time of the story and filming), and the outstanding melodies which Mr. Foster created.


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