The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)

88 or 91 mins | Musical | 21 February 1947

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HISTORY

In the opening onscreen credits, acknowledgment was made of the "Freedom of Opportunity" radio broadcast entitled "Story of the Dorsey Brothers," which was used in the film. The film is narrated in the form of a letter by Sara Allgood, who portrays Mrs. Dorsey. This was William Lundigan's first film following his enlistment in the armed forces four years earlier. According to a pre-production news item in HR , composer Sidney Miller wrote a song for the film entitled "Shenandoah," which was named after the Dorseys' home town. The song, however, did not appear in the final film. The only song in the film that was written especially for it was "To Me." According to a pre-production HR news item, Mrs. Dorsey was to appear in a small role in the film, at the request of her sons, but her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Although listed as "Jane" in the credits, Janet Blair's character is referred to as "Janie" throughout the film.
       Although much of the film was fictional, the Dorsey Brothers did, in fact, break up at the Glen Island Casino in New York on Memorial Day, 1935, following a violent argument. They reconciled their personal differences in the mid-1940s, but led separate bands until mid-1953, when they reunited and were billed as The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Featuring Jimmy Dorsey. The film features medleys of several of the hit songs that the brothers recorded, either singly or together, including "I'll Never Smile Again," "Sandman," "Tangerine," and "I'll Never Say 'Never Again' Again." Vocalists Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly, who were featured singers with Jimmy's band, appear briefly ... More Less

In the opening onscreen credits, acknowledgment was made of the "Freedom of Opportunity" radio broadcast entitled "Story of the Dorsey Brothers," which was used in the film. The film is narrated in the form of a letter by Sara Allgood, who portrays Mrs. Dorsey. This was William Lundigan's first film following his enlistment in the armed forces four years earlier. According to a pre-production news item in HR , composer Sidney Miller wrote a song for the film entitled "Shenandoah," which was named after the Dorseys' home town. The song, however, did not appear in the final film. The only song in the film that was written especially for it was "To Me." According to a pre-production HR news item, Mrs. Dorsey was to appear in a small role in the film, at the request of her sons, but her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Although listed as "Jane" in the credits, Janet Blair's character is referred to as "Janie" throughout the film.
       Although much of the film was fictional, the Dorsey Brothers did, in fact, break up at the Glen Island Casino in New York on Memorial Day, 1935, following a violent argument. They reconciled their personal differences in the mid-1940s, but led separate bands until mid-1953, when they reunited and were billed as The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Featuring Jimmy Dorsey. The film features medleys of several of the hit songs that the brothers recorded, either singly or together, including "I'll Never Smile Again," "Sandman," "Tangerine," and "I'll Never Say 'Never Again' Again." Vocalists Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly, who were featured singers with Jimmy's band, appear briefly as themselves. Tommy's most famous vocalists, Frank Sinatra and Jo Stafford, do not appear, nor are they portrayed. Tommy Dorsey died on 26 Nov 1956, and Jimmy died on 12 Jun 1957. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Mar 1947.
---
Daily Variety
25 Feb 1947.
---
Film Daily
3 Mar 47
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 46
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 46
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 46
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 46
p. 12, 15
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 46
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 46
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 47
p. 3.
Independent Film Journal
3 Aug 46
p. 51.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Mar 1947.
---
New York Times
30 May 47
p. 25.
Variety
26 Feb 47
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dressing
COSTUMES
Gowns supv
Men's ward
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Photog eff
DANCE
Dance dir
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the article "The Battling Brothers Dorsey" by Richard English in The Saturday Evening Post (2 Feb 1946).
MUSIC
"Dorsey Concerto," by Leo Shuken
"When You and I Were Young, Maggie Blues," by Jack Frost and Jimmy McHugh, based on the 1866 song, music by James Austin Butterfield
"At Sundown," music by Walter Donaldson
+
MUSIC
"Dorsey Concerto," by Leo Shuken
"When You and I Were Young, Maggie Blues," by Jack Frost and Jimmy McHugh, based on the 1866 song, music by James Austin Butterfield
"At Sundown," music by Walter Donaldson
"I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," music by George Bassman
"Contrasts," music by Jimmy Dorsey
"Turquoise" and "Art's Blues," music by Art Tatum.
+
SONGS
"To Me," music by Allie Wrubel, lyrics by Don George
"Green Eyes," music by Nilo Menéndez, lyrics by Adolfo Utrera, English lyrics by L. Wolfe Gilbert
"The Object of My Affection," music and lyrics by Pinky Tomlin, Coy Poe and Jimmie Grier
+
SONGS
"To Me," music by Allie Wrubel, lyrics by Don George
"Green Eyes," music by Nilo Menéndez, lyrics by Adolfo Utrera, English lyrics by L. Wolfe Gilbert
"The Object of My Affection," music and lyrics by Pinky Tomlin, Coy Poe and Jimmie Grier
"Marie," music and lyrics by Irving Berlin.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 February 1947
Premiere Information:
World Premiere in Harrisburg, PA: 26 February 1947
Production Date:
8 July--mid September 1946 at General Service Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Embassy Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
21 February 1947
Copyright Number:
LP865
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
88 or 91
Length(in feet):
7,935
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
12047
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Amateur musician and music teacher Thomas Dorsey, who works in the coal mines of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, educates his scrappy two sons, Tommy and Jimmy, in music so that they can make something of their lives. While still young, the boys make their debut at a dance hall, with Tommy on trombone and Jimmy on saxophone in their father's band. They become a hit when Tommy leads the band in an unscheduled jazz version of "When You and I Were Young, Maggie," delighting the crowd and making their skeptical father proud. When they are grown, the Dorsey brothers start an unsuccessful tour with their own jazz band, with Jimmy now playing the clarinet and Janie Howard, their childhood friend, as their singer. When their piano player quits, they hire film hall pianist and budding classical composer Bob Burton, who falls in love with Janie. They are offered a job on the radio, but while on the air, the brothers' volatile tempers explode into a brawl, and they are fired. Although they receive an offer to join the "King of Jazz," Paul Whiteman, and his band, the Dorseys want to make it on their own. Bob eventually proposes to Janie, but she is unwilling to leave Tommy and Jimmy until they have become famous. Gradually they become successful, but their constant arguing continues. One night, while the boys are appearing at the Glen Island Casino, Mr. and Mrs. Dorsey pay a surprise visit. The evening goes well until Jimmy stops the band in the middle of a song because he says Tommy is conducting too fast. After a bitter argument, Tommy walks out. Janie tries to help them, as ... +


Amateur musician and music teacher Thomas Dorsey, who works in the coal mines of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, educates his scrappy two sons, Tommy and Jimmy, in music so that they can make something of their lives. While still young, the boys make their debut at a dance hall, with Tommy on trombone and Jimmy on saxophone in their father's band. They become a hit when Tommy leads the band in an unscheduled jazz version of "When You and I Were Young, Maggie," delighting the crowd and making their skeptical father proud. When they are grown, the Dorsey brothers start an unsuccessful tour with their own jazz band, with Jimmy now playing the clarinet and Janie Howard, their childhood friend, as their singer. When their piano player quits, they hire film hall pianist and budding classical composer Bob Burton, who falls in love with Janie. They are offered a job on the radio, but while on the air, the brothers' volatile tempers explode into a brawl, and they are fired. Although they receive an offer to join the "King of Jazz," Paul Whiteman, and his band, the Dorseys want to make it on their own. Bob eventually proposes to Janie, but she is unwilling to leave Tommy and Jimmy until they have become famous. Gradually they become successful, but their constant arguing continues. One night, while the boys are appearing at the Glen Island Casino, Mr. and Mrs. Dorsey pay a surprise visit. The evening goes well until Jimmy stops the band in the middle of a song because he says Tommy is conducting too fast. After a bitter argument, Tommy walks out. Janie tries to help them, as she always does, and a bitter Bob ends their relationship. Tommy and Jimmy form their own orchestras and each becomes famous, but they still refuse to speak to each other or perform together, thus breaking their parents' hearts. Janie schemes to reunite them by getting Whiteman to organize a benefit performance of Bob's concerto by saying that it is the work of a composer named D. H. Smith, and features trombone and clarinet. At the rehearsal, after Tommy and Jimmy discover each other's presence, they both quit. Their father's death reunites them, however. On the night of the concert, Bob is shocked to hear his music being played and thinks that "D. H. Smith" has stolen his work until Janie tells him that he is D. H. Smith. As the Dorseys play a duet, Bob asks Janie about "Mrs. Smith," but she says she prefers the name Burton. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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