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The Helen Morgan Story (1957)

Torch singer Helen Morgan rises from sordid beginnings to fame and fortune only to lose it all to alcohol and poor personal choices.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Russell Wade
Whitey Krause
Benny Weaver
Dorothy Green ...
Mrs. Wade
Johnny Haggerty
Warren Douglas ...
Mark Hellinger
Sammy White ...
The De Castro Sisters ...
Jimmy McHugh ...


The 1920's and 30's career of singer Helen Morgan is followed from her early days singing outdoors in a carnival, through her speak-easy and chorus-girl days, to her stardom on Broadway in Ziegfeld's "Show Boat". Her involvement with Larry Maddux, a gin-runner and con-man, and Russell Wade, a prominent, married New York lawyer, and her decline thanks to these failed romances and alcohol are punctuated by performances of many of the songs she made famous. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


No star ever climbed higher...or fell lower! See more »


Biography | Drama | Music


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Release Date:

5 October 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Jazz Age  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


LeRoy Prinz, who choreographed the musical numbers in this film, also choreographed the dances in the 1936 film version of "Show Boat", which featured the real Helen Morgan, along with Irene Dunne, Allan Jones, Charles Winninger, and Paul Robeson. See more »


When Larry robs the liquor warehouse, he pulls out a crate at the top of a stack. The crate directly beneath it partially pulls out under it, too, and it tilts down slightly. If the case was filled with full liquor bottles, as it supposedly would have been, it would have been too heavy to have moved in this way. See more »


Johnny Haggerty: It's tough to be a good guy and a cop at the same time.
See more »


Referenced in Valley of the Dolls (1967) See more »


The Girl Friend
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Performed by a chorus at the nightclub
See more »

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User Reviews

Not much to like about this one...
25 January 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I think the only reason they made "The Helen Morgan Story" is because of the success of similar movies such as "Love Me or Leave Me" and "I'll Cry Tomorrow"--both exceptional movies from 1955 about very hard luck singers of the 1920s. Like these other films, "The Helen Morgan Story" is about a lady with lots of talent--but also had a talent for screwing up her life. But, unlike these other films, you really never care about her or anyone in the films. For example, in "Love Me or Leave Me", Doris Day plays a real life lady who had a gangster boyfriend BUT she left him and cleaned up her life--so the notion of overcoming circumstances makes this an enjoyable film. In "I'll Cry Tomorrow" you like the story because Susan Hayward did a nice job of putting over the role. Here, there really is nothing good. With "The Helen Morgan Story", however, it feels like an episode of "The Jerry Springer Show" as her boyfriend (Paul Newman) slaps her around and treats poor Helen (Ann Blythe) like crap. It gets old very fast--it's just vicious and nasty. And, it's hard to care about her as well--she's just pathetic. Overall, I found it to be a real chore to watch this one--especially since in real life it only got worse and worse and worse until the lady was dead. Not pleasant nor particularly entertaining.

By the way, there is no narrator listed on IMDb but the beginning of the film sure sounded as if the voice was Efram Zimbalist Junior. If you can enlighten me on this, let me know.

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