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The Benny Goodman Story (1956)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  3 January 1956 (Japan)
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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 »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alice Hammond
Berta Gersten ...
Mama Goodman
Barry Truex ...
Herbert Anderson ...
John Hammond Jr.
Robert F. Simon ...
Papa Dave Goodman
Hy Averback ...
Willard Alexander
Fletcher Henderson
Dick Winslow ...
Gil Rodin
Shepard Menken ...
Harry Goodman (as Shep Menken)
Murph Podolsky
Wilton Graff ...
John Hammond Sr.
Fred Essler ...
Prof. Schoepp
David Kasday ...
John Erman ...
Harry Goodman (at 16) (as John M. Erman)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | Music


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 January 1956 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

A História de Benny Goodman  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Already an accomplished piano player, Steve Allen learned how to play the clarinet for this film. See more »


Trumpeter Buck Clayton never appeared with Goodman's 1937 band; he was a mainstay of Count Basie's. Clayton did, however, perform as a guest artist with Basie and fellow band members Lester Young, Freddie Green and Walter Page at Goodman's legendary 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. See more »

Crazy Credits

Benny Goodman's theme song is played over the appearance of the "Universal International" globe. See more »


Don't Be That Way
Written by Benny Goodman, Mitchell Parish and Edgar M. Sampson
See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful music, but otherwise pretty bland
31 March 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film was certainly made in order to give jazz and swing band fans a real fine dose of perhaps the greatest swing music ever recorded, and this it does in abundance and in very fine form.

However, the story and dramatic part of this film is truly not very well executed, and much inferior to the previous year's "Glen Miller Story".

And, as a previous commentator stated on this site, why couldn't the producers have put in a little more thought into the costumes of the period, not only for the women, although this is where it is obviously not proper period costume, but also for the men.

Are 1920's fashions that difficult to reproduce? I don't think so.While Donna Reed certainly looked beautiful in the clothes she did wear in the film, it was a bit "jarring" to know that the story is taking place in the 20's and 30's, and everyone is parading around in mid 50's clothing.

Otherwise, the film is modestly entertaining, and the music , as mentioned, is superb.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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