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The Benny Goodman Story (1956)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Music | 3 January 1956 (Japan)
The young Benny Goodman is taught clarinet by a Chicago music professor. He is advised by bandleader Kid Ory to play whichever kind of music he likes best, but to make a living, Benny begins by joining the Ben Pollack traveling band.

Director:

Valentine Davies
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Allen ... Benny Goodman
Donna Reed ... Alice Hammond
Berta Gersten Berta Gersten ... Mama Goodman
Barry Truex Barry Truex ... Benny Goodman (at 16)
Herbert Anderson ... John Hammond Jr.
Robert F. Simon ... Papa Dave Goodman
Hy Averback Hy Averback ... Willard Alexander
Sammy Davis Sr. ... Fletcher Henderson
Dick Winslow ... Gil Rodin
Shepard Menken Shepard Menken ... Harry Goodman
Jack Kruschen ... Murph Podolsky
Wilton Graff ... John Hammond Sr.
Fred Essler Fred Essler ... Prof. Schoepp
David Kasday ... Benny Goodman (at 10)
John Erman ... Harry Goodman (at 16) (as John M. Erman)
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Storyline

The young Benny Goodman is taught clarinet by a Chicago music professor. He is advised by bandleader Kid Ory to play whichever kind of music he likes best, but to make a living, Benny begins by joining the Ben Pollack traveling band.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

Benny Goodman is shown playing the Gordon Jenkins standard "Goodbye" after he learns of his father's death. Goodman's father died in 1926, but Jenkins did not compose "Goodbye" until 1935. Goodman used "Goodbye" as the sign-off tune for the "Let's Dance" radio program and live performances. See more »

Quotes

Alice Hammond: I can't remember when I've been so moved.
Benny Goodman: That wasn't me - that was Mozart.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Soundtracks

King Porter Stomp
Written by Ferdinand 'Jelly Roll' Morton
See more »

User Reviews

 
Formula..but oh, that music!
19 April 2003 | by rube2424See all my reviews

THE BENNY GOODMAN story, the half brother of the GLENN MILLER STORY and the GENE KRUPA STORY and the first cousin of THE FABULOUS DORSEY'S is a made to order biopic that lacks ooomph because of the reticence of the title character. Steve Allen's Goodman doesn't have the boyish enthusiasm that James Stewart had as Miller, but rather a quiet nerdishness that although possibly respresenting the person correctly, doesn't make for thrilling cinema. Because of this, Allen treads water valiantly, while all Donna Reed has to do is look lovingly at him and look as beautiful as, well, Donna Reed. (The real find in the film is Berta Gerstein, of whom I had never heard, but who I gather from reading the IMBD database, must have been a Yiddish theater/cinema star, as Benny Goodman's mother. She is so real that she makes the rest of the actors seem like cardboard.) But what a treat it is to see and hear Kid Ory, Harry James, Martha Tilton, Lionel Hampton, Ziggy Elman, Urbie Green and to hear Goodman himself.

Where the film shines is in its music and never more so than at the halfway point's Paramount Theater engagement and the ending's Carnegie Hall concert of 1938. In these two spots the film soars. AND THE ANGEL'S SING is classic and SING SING SING will blow the top off your DVD player.

So, THE BENNY GOODMAN STORY, usual biopic with some amazing music. (Want a great double feature? No, not THE GLENN MILLER STORY which is fun, but rather the 1947 NEW ORLEANS with more jazz greats including Louis Armstrong. Now, as Cole Porter would say, you has jazz!)!!!!!!!!


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 January 1956 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

La historia de Benny Goodman See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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