Bio of swing band leader 'Benny Goodman' from age 10 (1919) to his landmark Carnegie Hall band concert in 1938. Not exactly historically accurate, but great music. Also, guest appearances ... See full summary »
A "Romeo and Juliet" story that takes place in the late 16c. Ukraine. Taras has settled into comfortable farm life after years of adventures and swashbuckling with his cossack companions. ... See full summary »
J. Lee Thompson
A young man visits his fiancée's estate to discover that her wheelchair-bound scientist father has discovered a meteorite that emits mutating radiation rays that have turned the plants in ... See full summary »
The frozen body of Paul Fournier is discovered in Greenland where he had disappeared during a scientific expedition in 1905. Perfectly conserved he is brought back to life in the 1960s. His... See full summary »
Louis de Funès,
In Paris outskirts Blanche, a young clerk, befriends Lea, a girl livelier than she is. Lea is going steady with Fabien who is a friend to Alexandre who is going steady with Adrienne but is ... See full summary »
Somewhere in the future the environmental overkill had come. Many people had died. The rich were able to build the underworld, the poor had to stay on the surface building gangs to survive.... See full summary »
The US Army is under pressure from the desperate relatives of white prisoners of the Comanches to secure their rescue. A cynical and corrupt marshal, Guthrie McCabe, is persuaded by an army... See full summary »
The story of legendary jazz drummer, Gene Krupa. Since his youth, all Gene ever wanted to do is play the drums and make music. This is something his parents would not approve of- they want ... See full summary »
Bio of swing band leader 'Benny Goodman' from age 10 (1919) to his landmark Carnegie Hall band concert in 1938. Not exactly historically accurate, but great music. Also, guest appearances by many great musicians of the time. Written by
Don Femia <email@example.com>
Benny Goodman played all the clarinet music heard on the soundtrack himself, with the exception of the scene where the young Goodman first tried to play the clarinet - the squeaky notes were actually played by Steve Allen. See more »
Howler Dept: A radio announcer describes "Stompin' At The Savoy" as a "brand-new Fletcher Henderson arrangement". It was, in fact, an Edgar Sampson composition and arrangement adapted for Benny Goodman's band by Sampson with the permission of Sampson's employer, bandleader Chick Webb. See more »
Benny Goodman's theme song is played over the appearance of the "Universal International" globe. See more »
Maybe back in the 1950s this film was of interest to viewers. But half a century later, it comes across as dated, bland, and boring. Benny Goodman no doubt was a talented band leader and clarinet player. But many other musicians have also been talented, and their "story" has not been told on screen. I'm not being factious when I ask of this film: what's the story here?
Surely it's not Goodman's public persona. The film portrays him as expressionless, nerdy, versatile, single minded, and uncompromising. As a bland Goodman, Steve Allen's performance is understated, and that renders a protagonist so flat and dull that a mannequin could have played the title role as well.
Actually, there is a "story" here, if you look closely. It's Goodman's insight. He was something of a musical prophet. He anticipated what audiences wanted to hear. Instead of the usual "stock arrangements" being played on radio and in clubs, Goodman opted for a new style, called "hot music", derived in part from a synthesis of ragtime and dixieland jazz, music that was, at first, relegated to your local, disreputable back room speakeasy. Goodman popularized that style of music.
Technically, the film is adequate. Costumes and production design are credible. There are some interesting camera angles at the film's beginning; lighting is conventional. Although Goodman's appearance changes as he gets older, his longtime friend Gil Rodin (Dick Winslow) does not change at all through the years, an oversight in makeup and/or casting. As Goodman's love interest, Donna Reed shines. She is adroit at changing facial expressions during scenes wherein not much is happening. The film's structure is okay, but the ending is abrupt; the film just ... stops.
One of the better aspects of this film is the appearance of other famous musicians, including Harry James, Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton, and singer Martha Tilton.
Although I did not find "The Benny Goodman Story" to be especially interesting, it probably would be of interest to viewers who like Goodman's dated style of music, or to those interested in the history of popular music in the U.S.
7 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?