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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 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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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
See full technical specs »
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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

When Benny is 16 and sitting and playing on the roof of his apartment house, the "buildings" in the background have lights in certain windows. Years later when he is again in the same place, the same lights in the same windows are shown. See more »

Quotes

Harry Goodman: Benny, you oughta change your name.
Benny Goodman: Why?
Harry Goodman: Who's gonna remember a name like Benny Goodman.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Soundtracks

China Boy
Written by Dick Winfree and Phil Boutelje
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User Reviews

Reasonable retelling of a portion of BG's life story
29 April 2003 | by john.palmerSee all my reviews

Growing up in the 40's in Brooklyn, I heard the music of BG, Miller, Dorsey, Shaw, etc. on the family radio(Martin Block's "Make Believe Ballroom"). I became a big fan of Benny's in 1950, with the release of the Columbia LP of the Carnegie Hall concert and the 1937-1938 radio broadcast albums.The music on these live performance albums was outstanding and spontaneous as opposed to the sterile studio recordings locked into a 3 minute format for 78 rpm records. These albums resulted in a resurgence of Benny's popularity and, ultimately lead to the movie.

Steve Allen, while not a great choice, was probably the best at that time, since he was a popular TV personality and was a music lover and musician in his own right. As for Donna Reed, well what can anyone say except that she was as beautiful as ever and the consummate pro as the female lead. A fairly fast paced film with loads of musical guest stars and some pretty good tunes made famous by and played by BG for the soundtrack.

Benny was not an exciting or controversial guy, so how do you generate enough interest to draw people to the movie,as is the case today. In 1955, good music did the trick. About the only controversy about Benny was his reputation of staring down any band member who diverted from the the arrangement. One former musician described in an interview how "the old man gave me the evil stare for the whole number after hitting a wrong note early on".

Too bad they could not synchronize the actual concert music with the movie. In particular, the quartet version of "Stompin At The Savoy" in which Gene Krupa's cymbal flew off the stand and was hit by Lionel Hampton on the way by without missing a beat, or the concert rendition of "Sing,Sing,Sing", probably the best ever recorded.

If you like this film go out and buy the newly released CD of the Carnegie Hall concert complete with 2 numbers previously excluded from other releases with intros by BG and no interruptions between numbers allowing you to hear the sounds of the band setting up for the next number, etc. Just like being there.


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