The Jolson Story

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Stephen Longstreet (screenplay)
Sidney Buchman (uncredited)
Harry Chandlee (adaptation)

The Jolson Story is a 1946 musical biography which purports to tell the life story of singer Al Jolson. It stars Larry Parks as Jolson, Evelyn Keyes as "Julie Benson" (approximating Jolson's wife, Ruby Keeler), William Demarest as his manager, Ludwig Donath and Tamara Shayne as his parents, and Scotty Beckett as the young Jolson.

The Columbia Pictures production was written by Sidney Buchman (uncredited), Harry Chandlee, Stephen Longstreet and Andrew Solt. The dramatic scenes were directed by Alfred E. Green, with the musical sequences directed by Joseph H. Lewis.

The film was a tremendous financial success, and won Academy Awards for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture and Best Sound, Recording, and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Larry Parks), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (William Demarest), Best Cinematography, Color and Best Film Editing. The film was also entered into the 1947 Cannes Film Festival.[1]

Contents

Plot

Burlesque performer Steve Martin (William Demarest) offers to play a song for his audience, if they agree to sing along. Only one person does sing, a young boy named Asa Yoelson (Scotty Beckett). Steve is bowled over by the boy's voice, but Asa realizes he should be singing at the synagogue with his father, Cantor Yoelson (Ludwig Donath). Asa arrives late, and is later reprimanded by his strict father. Asa is reluctant to explain where he was, but Steve Martin visits the Yoelsons' home. He explains that he heard Asa sing at the burlesque house, and that he wants Asa to be part of his act. Papa Yoelson refuses to consider it.

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