IMDb > The Jolson Story (1946)
The Jolson Story
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The Jolson Story (1946) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Harry Chandlee (adaptation)
Stephen Longstreet (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Jolson Story on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 October 1946 (USA) See more »
This movie shows the idealized career of the singer Al Jolson, a little Jewish boy who goes against the will of his father in order to be in showbiz... See more » | Full synopsis »
Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The most enthralling musical biography of all time - "you ain't heard nothin' yet!" See more (53 total) »


  (in credits order)

Larry Parks ... Al Jolson

Evelyn Keyes ... Julie Benson

William Demarest ... Steve Martin

Bill Goodwin ... Tom Baron

Ludwig Donath ... Cantor Yoelson

Scotty Beckett ... Asa Yoelson / Al Jolson, as a boy
Tamara Shayne ... Mrs. Yoelson

Jo-Carroll Dennison ... Ann Murray

John Alexander ... Lew Dockstader

Ernest Cossart ... Father McGee
The Robert Mitchell Boy Choir ... Church Choir (as Mitchell 'Boychoir')
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Robert Kellard ... Henry, Orchestra Leader (as Bob Stevens)
Jessie Arnold ... Wardrobe Woman (uncredited)
Nita Bieber ... Dancer in nightclub revue (uncredited)

Lilian Bond ... Woman (uncredited)

Symona Boniface ... Woman in Audience (uncredited)
Eugene Borden ... Headwaiter (uncredited)
Bill Brandt ... Nightclub Orchestra Leader (uncredited)
Clay Campbell ... Makeup Artist for 'The Jazz Singer' (uncredited)
James Conaty ... Man in Audience / Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Donna Dax ... Girl Publicist (uncredited)

Franklyn Farnum ... Man in Audience (uncredited)
Eddie Fetherston ... Asst. Stage Manager (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Woman in Audience / Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
William Forrest ... Dick Glenn (uncredited)
Buddy Gorman ... Jimmy, the Call Boy (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Fred Howard ... Man in Audience (uncredited)
Coulter Irwin ... John, Young Priest (uncredited)

Al Jolson ... Himself - in long shot of 'Swanee' (uncredited)
Charles Jordan ... Dockstader's Stage Manager (uncredited)
Eddie Kane ... Florenz Ziegfeld (uncredited)
Edward Keane ... Winter Garden Director (uncredited)
P.J. Kelly ... Doorman (uncredited)
Mike Lally ... Lab Manager (uncredited)
Pat Lane ... Cameraman (uncredited)
Jimmy Lloyd ... Roy Anderson (uncredited)

Arthur Loft ... Winter Garden Stage Manager (uncredited)

George Magrill ... Gaffer (uncredited)
Charles Marsh ... Man in Audience (uncredited)
Thomas Martin ... Party Guest (uncredited)

Edwin Maxwell ... Oscar Hammerstein (uncredited)

Frank McLure ... Party Guest (uncredited)

Harold Miller ... Night Club Patron (uncredited)
Robert Mitchell ... Choir Conductor (uncredited)
Helen O'Hara ... Dancer (uncredited)
Joe Palma ... Worker in Railroad Yard (uncredited)
Eddie Rio ... Nightclub Master of Ceremonies (uncredited)
Adele Roberts ... Dancer (uncredited)
Alex Romero ... Dancer (uncredited)

Fred F. Sears ... Oscar - Cutter (uncredited)
Harry Shannon ... Policeman Reilly (uncredited)

Ted Stanhope ... Electrician (uncredited)
Brick Sullivan ... Man in Audience (uncredited)

Ann E. Todd ... Ann Murray as a Child (uncredited)

John Tyrrell ... Railroad Watchman (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan ... Jonsey (uncredited)
Eric Wilton ... Henry the Butler (uncredited)
Rudy Wissler ... Asa Yoelson (singing voice) (uncredited)

Will Wright ... Sourpuss Movie Patron (uncredited)

Directed by
Alfred E. Green 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Sidney Buchman  uncredited
Harry Chandlee  adaptation
Stephen Longstreet  screenplay
Andrew Solt  adaptation

Produced by
Gordon Griffith .... associate producer (as Gordon S. Griffith)
Sidney Skolsky .... producer
Sidney Buchman .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
George Duning (uncredited)
Hugo Friedhofer (uncredited)
Arthur Morton (uncredited)
Marlin Skiles (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Joseph Walker 
Film Editing by
William A. Lyon  (as William Lyon)
Art Direction by
Stephen Goosson 
Walter Holscher 
Set Decoration by
Louis Diage 
William Kiernan 
Costume Design by
Jean Louis 
Makeup Department
Clay Campbell .... makeup artist
Helen Hunt .... hair stylist
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Wilbur McGaugh .... assistant director
Sound Department
Hugh McDowell Jr. .... sound recordist (as Hugh McDowell)
Richard Olson .... sound re-recordist
John P. Livadary .... sound (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Donald C. Glouner .... matte paintings camera (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Ned Scott .... still photographer
Victor Scheurich .... second camera operator (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Douglas Hines .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Saul Chaplin .... vocal arranger
Martin Fried .... music arranger
Morris Stoloff .... musical director (as M.W. Stoloff)
Edwin Wetzel .... music recordist
George Duning .... music arranger (uncredited)
Virginia Rees .... singing voice: Evelyn Keyes (uncredited)
Saul Silverman .... singing voice: Ludwig Donath (uncredited)
Rudy Wissler .... singing voice: Scotty Beckett (uncredited)
Other crew
Lawrence W. Butler .... montage director
Jack Cole .... choreographer
Natalie Kalmus .... technicolor color director
Joseph H. Lewis .... director: production numbers
James T. 'Bud' Nelson .... singing double
Morgan Padelford .... associate technicolor color director
Robert Gordon .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Roy Hamilton .... dialogue director (uncredited)
Thelma Hoover .... research director (uncredited)
Al Jolson .... original singing voice: Larry Parks (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
128 min | USA:124 min (re-release) | West Germany:104 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Australia:G | Finland:S | Netherlands:AL | Sweden:Btl | UK:U | USA:Approved (PCA #11154, General Audience) | West Germany:12

Did You Know?

At the time Jolson was beginning his career Minstrel shows were popular and there were numerous vaudeville performers who appeared in blackface makeup. One of the most popular was Eddie Cantor. This would not change until the end of the 1920s.See more »
Factual errors: The Jazz Singer (1927) had its world premiere at the Warner Theatre in New York, not the Winter Garden as depicted in the film (as "The Jolson Story" was a Columbia picture, the change is understandable).See more »
Al Jolson:Broadway? What a street! You know something, baby? It belongs to me. You know something else? If you want, I'll give it to you.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The Ultimate Film (2004) (TV)See more »
Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie MelodySee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
25 out of 26 people found the following review useful.
The most enthralling musical biography of all time - "you ain't heard nothin' yet!", 18 November 2000
Author: ( from Eastbourne, Sussex, England

"The Jolson Story" must be one of the most outstanding musical biographies to ever come out of Hollywood with a multitude of unforgettable popular songs, luxuriant colour photography, and a noteworthy performance by Larry Parks in his most accomplished role as Al Jolson. The stunning Evelyn Keyes sparkled as Julie Benson and the eminent William Demarest was entertainer Steve Martin (later Jolson's manager). "Give that boy a spotlight!!". Ludwig Donath and Tamara Shayne were an inspired choice as Jolson's parents: "Papa, Asa isn't Asa any more!". Bill Goodwin was Jolson's close friend and singer Tom Baron (later theatrical impresario) and talented Scotty Beckett gave an appealing performance playing Jolson as a boy. William Demarest had also appeared with Al Jolson years earlier in "The Jazz Singer" (1927) so it is intriguing to speculate whether they reminisced about that during the production of "The Jolson Story". William Demarest received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his part in "The Jolson Story" but was beaten by Harold Russell for "The Best Years of Our Lives". Larry Parks was also nominated (as Best Actor) but lost to Fredric March (again for "The Best Years of Our Lives"). As some small consolation the film did win Oscars for the Best Musical Score and the Best Sound Recording. (For some obscure reason it wasn't even nominated for the best picture award much to my surprise).

The film has an absorbing storyline even though it is not entirely accurate and it does take some liberties with the facts. Jolson's mother died when he was eight years old yet in the film she lives on to see him become a big success on Broadway. Many people who played active parts in Jolson's real life story did not even get a mention in the film version. His long time manager Louis Epstein, his dresser/valet Frank Holmes and his brother Harry were all eliminated from the plot! The character Steve Martin played by William Demarest did not actually exist and it has been suggested that this role was probably a composite of the three men referred to above plus several other people. Jolson's first two wives were not even mentioned and Ruby Keeler (Jolson's third wife) would not allow her name to be used in the picture so ravishing Evelyn Keyes had to play the fictitious Julie Benson instead. Ziegfeld: "This is Julie Benson - the star of my next production "Show Girl"." Jolson: "Mr Ziegfeld you will please not advertise on my time!".

Harry Cohn (the notorious head of Columbia Pictures) is to be congratulated for going ahead with this film when all the other major studios had turned it down. Even Warner Bros. (for whom Jolson had starred in several films) were not interested. Filming was started on a small budget and in black and white. However, when Harry Cohn saw the early rushes he decided to film in colour and make "The Jolson Story" a major prestigious production. This certainly paid off for him in a big way as the film became one of Columbia Pictures top money earners. Jolson desperately wanted to play the leading role himself and was opposed to another actor portraying his life. Unfortunately at that stage in his career he was obviously too old (he was 60) but the studio could not have found anyone better than the young Larry Parks (31) who perfectly captured the Jolson style and threw himself into the part with relish. However, Jolson did manage to play himself in one scene singing "Swanee" on the Winter Garden runway (all filmed in longshot with no close-ups). When I saw "The Jolson Story" for the first time it had a major impact on my life and for weeks afterwards I was quoting lines from the film that had stuck in my mind such as these from Jolson to Julie Benson: "Broadway, ha, what a street, you know something baby - it belongs to me. You know something else, if you want it, I'll give it to you!"

The musical numbers were absolutely magnificent and with popular songs like "California Here I Come", "You Made Me Love You", "Toot Toot Tootsie", "April Showers", "Robert E. Lee", "Liza", "Mammy", "Liza", "About a Quarter to Nine", "I'm Sitting on Top of the World" and "Rockabye Your Baby" how could it miss! If there is one film I could take to a desert island it would have to be "The Jolson Story" as I never tire of seeing repeated showings of this timeless classic. As Jolson himself would have said: "Settle back folks, you ain't heard nothin' yet!" (and he would be right about that). 10/10. Clive Roberts.

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