The Jolson Story - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Jolson Story Reviews

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½ November 5, 2015
One of the best musical biographies ever made; colorful & entertaining, and filled with those wonderful Jolson melodies (dubbed for actor Larry Parks by Jolson himself). This immensely popular film even generated a hit song in 1946: "The Anniversary Song."
April 4, 2015
wonderful Film - excellent Castings. I've seen it many times.
½ October 9, 2014
Historically inaccurate, but the music is good. Allegedly the story of the life of Al Jolson, but is biographical and accurate only in the Hollywood sense.

Far too much poetic license is taken with the plot, to the point that after a while you wonder if anything you saw is true. the biggest example of this is the implication that Jolson was first married, to Julie Benson, around the time he made The Jazz Singer (1927). He did get married, to Ruby Keeler, in 1928, but this was his third marriage! Wouldn't want to ruin the "hero eventually meets his perfect one after putting his career first and much disappointment, dating-wise" plot you figured would work on audiences, would you now, Hollywood?

I guess the fact that her name was changed should be a clue that this is a work of fiction...

The "happily ever after" ending was also fictional, as they divorced in 1940, six years before the movie was made.

On the positive side, some good music and stage performances.

On that note, Larry Parks is kind of hit-and-miss as Al Jolson. His stage performances are good, and seem to portray well the larger-than-life, complete entertainer nature of Al Jolson. However, in the off-stage scenes he comes across as overbearing, overly energetic, phony and downright irritating.

If you are interested in the correct history of Al Jolson, don't watch this. Watch a History Channel documentary instead, or just read Wikipedia.
April 29, 2014
The true (to the spirit of vaudeville and Hollywood) tale of America's first and arguably greatest star of stage and screen. Name any great pop-vocalist of the 20th century - and likely they looked to this Lithuanian cantor's son as an inspiration.
December 30, 2013
Just loved the movie, although mostly fiction,the music can never be equaled to any other film in any era.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2013
Not a bad film but not a great one either. This one was going along oh so well until..whoa whoa whoa whoa..we see Jolson in blackface. Talk about insensitivity coming out of nowhere.
September 10, 2013
A lot better then I expected. Love Larry Parks.
½ April 6, 2013
One of my favourite movies since I was a kid, brilliant stuff with great songs
December 15, 2012
The movie stars Larry Parks as Al Jolson, the one-time most popular singer in the world, who was the King of vaudeville and Broadway, and known for his facial expressions and physical acting while singing. With Evelyn Keyes and William Demarest, and a really corny and unlifelike romantic story full of cliches. Jolson himself coached Parks extensively on his acting, his moves, and his singing, and Jolson sang some of the songs himself (while Parks lip-synched). The music is irresistible, and Parks is great hamming it up Jolson style.
November 11, 2011
Great cast and a nice film.
½ July 6, 2011
A few liberties are taken with the truth in this biopic of Al Jolson - one of the World's greatest entertainers in his prime, but never mind the fictional aspect for this is filled with terrific musical numbers - a showcase for Jolson's unique style - played brilliantly by Larry Parks and voiced by Jolson himself (all the more remarkable because he only had one lung at the time!). The truth is Parks is infinitely more likeable than the real Jolson (Jolson makes a cameo appearance during the "Swanee" number) and charms throughout. Indeed Parks did such a great job it produced a revival in Jolson's own career - and also spawned a sequel, "Jolson Sings Again" which is almost as good. If you appreciate the musicals of the 40s, this is amongst the best.
½ February 7, 2011
It is entertaining and all of the music is there, its well acted and fun to watch; HOWEVER its facts are horribly distorted with a lot of Hollywood hooey. He was a talent, but married 4 times, not a long awaited one time only as this movie would have you think. His life long issues with his brother Harry is completely omitted from the film completely. This is hardly the real story of his life or of his true persona, but its entertaining none the less just to hear the songs.
June 9, 2010
*Music,* Music, *Music..a story of Creativity-Entertaining--(the Elvis-(wife) thing..'don't do that anymore'..huh-??)= the Love of Music.. . -OH!, the songs..."when i dream about the moonlight on the Wabash...", (Heavenly Voice) ....my Father used to sing - "When you were sweet sixteen"..in the kitchen, to Mom.... this movie is important, as history lesson, in Entertainment, (many first)- enjoy!
March 24, 2010
A terrific account of the life and times of Al Jolson.
March 21, 2010
Gaudy fictionalization of Al Jolson's life with a generous delightful sound-trackin with a sack full of familiar old songs. Larry Parks delivers a barnstoming performance as Jolson whilst William Demarest is truculent and tickling as an old burlesque partner and manager of the star. Not a lot of relation to the truth, but with all those Jolson songs on the soundtrack, it hardly matters.
September 18, 2009
I remember my mother watching this "countless" times growing up; brought back nostalgia for me when I saw this one. A great cast, memorable songs and a terrific story. Mammy! oh Mammy! Watch this movie, please!
January 11, 2009
One of my favorite movies!!!! I have seen it 22 times.
December 5, 2008
another great film i saw when i was a kid
huge impact on my life growing up--and have always loved it --larry parks was brilliant at miming jolson--even though jolson himself gave him a bad time on set
November 9, 2008
great film, great songs,happy memories of my dad singing all his songs kenny andrews thought he was jolson..........he was better
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