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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The King Swings!
Its taken a while, but finally its here on a Region 2 DVD. Benny Goodman swings!
The first time I saw this biopic was back in the 1950s and I had to queue to get into a thousand seat cinema and when I finally arrived in the semi-darkness I had to stand at the back of the stalls with a good many others!
Although there was a serious lack of TV in the average home...
Published on 21 Oct 2008 by DoDo Fan

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fab music but a dearth of biographical truth
They thought they'd found a winning formula with the popular 'The Glen Miller Story' a no warts at all work of skillfully woven fiction, but transferring the template to the life of swing's greatest clarinetist and without an established star like James Stewart to carry it, did not reproduce a similar box office success. The music is great and it's good to see the great...
Published on 18 April 2012 by McPoohser


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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The King Swings!, 21 Oct 2008
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This review is from: The Benny Goodman Story [DVD][1955] (DVD)
Its taken a while, but finally its here on a Region 2 DVD. Benny Goodman swings!
The first time I saw this biopic was back in the 1950s and I had to queue to get into a thousand seat cinema and when I finally arrived in the semi-darkness I had to stand at the back of the stalls with a good many others!
Although there was a serious lack of TV in the average home in those days , that fact alone does not fully explain the popularity of this kind of movie at that time.
Today it is all pretty schmaltzy and like the Glenn Miller Story a few years earlier, the screenplay and the "life story" of the subject is no more than a vehicle for the music to travel upon. Usually syrupy and often historically questionable the dramatics do at least provide a view of the acting styles of a time long gone.
Nevertheless The BG story is a good transfer to DVD and the music very well engineered into the soundtrack. It is especially good on a well set up home cinema sound system. The film of course does provide the chance to see and hear some well known musical figures from the 1930s, some in cameo roles. Gene Krupa, Ben Pollack, and Harry James. Ziggy Elman, Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Martha Tilton. And a nice little spot for Sammy Davis Jnr's Dad in the role of Fletcher Henderson. The Goodman band of the time provides most of the music of course and Benny himself is who you hear on the clarinet. Steve Allen, who plays the lead, is a near enough look-a-like for the part, though less than convincing with his simulated clarinet playing. But to be more critical would be pernickity. It is an enjoyable film and should not be compared to the melodramatics of today's movies. The Benny Goodman Story comes from the distant past and will forever remain there. Having said that, it can still be enjoyed today for what it is. Its not even necessary to be a fan of the swing bands of the period, but it does help!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Benny Goodman story [1955], 10 Feb 2009
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J. Roughley "Jim Roughley" (manchester england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Benny Goodman Story [DVD][1955] (DVD)
[[ASIN:B001BMWG5I The Benny Goodman Story [1955]..This is a film I saw in 1955 i loved it then and i still love it 53 years later.
The actual film inspired me to play the clarinet wich i still play today
but just as a hobby.
Great film great music should be in all jazz lovers collection.Jim.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swingin', 31 Oct 2008
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Graham Harris "GraemedeT" (Wales ,UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Benny Goodman Story [DVD][1955] (DVD)
I have waited over 50 years to have this film (playable on a DVD in this country as it were) and I have not been disappointed. The re-creation of the musical numbers is, in most cases, complete and especially the last swinging bonanza of Sing Sing Sing although I do not think that it lasts quite as long as the original concert but that's neither here nor there. As for Benny Goodman's life this is , no doubt, a sanitized version with idols such as Gene Krupa and Lional Hampton being slightly over the top with their idolisation of the man but that is not the point and certainly not the essence of this DVD. It's the music and if you like American Swing then, Man - you have to dig this like the most - if you know what I mean.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fab music but a dearth of biographical truth, 18 April 2012
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This review is from: The Benny Goodman Story [DVD][1955] (DVD)
They thought they'd found a winning formula with the popular 'The Glen Miller Story' a no warts at all work of skillfully woven fiction, but transferring the template to the life of swing's greatest clarinetist and without an established star like James Stewart to carry it, did not reproduce a similar box office success. The music is great and it's good to see the great quartet back together (if you can accept Steve Allen as Goodman), but the story is even farther from the truth than was Miller's and the lead struggles to capture the quirky, to put it politely, character of Benny Goodman. A good attempt to cash in on the success of the then recently released Carnegie Hall concert album but more of a trip down memory lane even back in 1955 for the middle aged Lindy Hop generation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best, 24 Mar 2010
This review is from: The Benny Goodman Story [DVD][1955] (DVD)
When they did biopics in the old days, they certainly got it right - unlike the "based on" films of today. Not only was the biographic content pretty accurate but the joy of listening to a man who was a genius on the clarinet was incredible. What made it more special to me, was that my mother was one of the multitude who attended Benny Goodman's Carnegie Hall concert all those years ago. Fantastic - especially since the great man played on the soundtrack. A real treat.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, 12 Jan 2010
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This review is from: The Benny Goodman Story [DVD][1955] (DVD)
A great favourite of mine, particularly the music side of it, with Gene Krupa, Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton and others, culminating in a shortened but nonetheless enjoyable version of "Sing, Sing, Sing"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Benny Goodman Story (Film), 12 Jun 2011
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Mr. Norman L. Holness (Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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An excellent film, so true to life with superb acting.
Shame it could not be viewed on my Sony tv & I had to view it on my desktop. Not made sufficiently clear by the vendor who was most unhelpful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Benny Goodman Story DCD, 19 April 2011
This review is from: The Benny Goodman Story [DVD][1955] (DVD)
As a young clarinetist I saw the original movie at least 6 times. Also saw the Trio live in Australia in mid '60's. Bought the DVD for historical value.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Benny Goodman Story DVD, 3 April 2011
By 
Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Benny Goodman Story [DVD][1955] (DVD)
The Benny Goodman Story

The plot of this film may be weak - it's just the story of a determined and precocious young boy growing up to become one of the world finest clarinettists. BG was born in Chicago, the ninth of twelve children of poor Jewish immigrants from Russia. Goodman is played in the film by Steve Allen, best known to American viewers as talk-show host and composer of the popular song `Impossible'. Goodman's wife, Alice Hammond, whom he married in 1942, was played by Donna Reed. Sammy Davis Senior appears as arranger and bandleader Fletcher Henderson and the clarinet playing is by Goodman himself. There are also brief appearances by Harry James, Kid Ory and Martha Tilton.

Many of the key events in Goodman's career are portrayed in the film: his apprenticeship with the Ben Pollack band, the famous NBC audition in 1934, the subsequent formation of his own band, the quartet he formed with Teddy Wilson (piano), Gene Krupa (drums) and Lionel Hampton (vibes), all of whom appear in the film. Goodman was classically trained, but his love for Alice and his relationship with Alice's brother, John Hammond, did much to take him also into classical music, also portrayed in the film. There are discs available of him played the Mozart Clarinet Concerto and the Clarinet Quintet. Although the dedicatee of Stravinsky's Clarinet Concerto was Woody Herman, who gave the premiere, the composer made another recording with Goodman. Goodman also commissioned the Clarinet Concerto from Aaron Copland, but there are few details in the film of this classical side of Goodman's playing.

What the film lacks in plot it more than makes up for in the feast of big band swing music with some of its great performers. If this is your kind of music, this film is a thoroughly enjoyable music-fest of just under 2 hours.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From the big band era, 13 Mar 2011
By 
Erik Preben Pedersen "Jazzbum" (Espergaerde, Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Benny Goodman Story [DVD][1955] (DVD)
The plot here is really dragging on, and it seems that neither Steve Allen nor Donna Reed put their hearts and souls into the movie. Somehow their playing appear to be very impersonal, and you don't really believe in their lovestory. If it wasn't for the fact that it is a music movie, I would land on 2 stars, but the swinging music lifts the plot, and it's a joy to see, and especially, hear the Benny Goodman band, listen to B.G. himself, Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa (and solos by Stan Getz).
Another detail that disappoints me is the fact that there are no subtitles whatsoever, which makes it somehow difficult for non-english speaking persons to get the full impression, and I think the recording company and/or Amazon should point this lack out in their advertising.
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The Benny Goodman Story [DVD][1955]
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