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The Fabulous Dorseys
The Fabulous Dorseys
Actors: Sara Allgood, William Bakewell, Janet Blair, Ann Carter, Edward Clark
Genres: Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2006     1hr 31min

Based on the lives of big-band stars Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, a musical Biography begining with therir childhood in Pennsylvania town.


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Movie Details

Actors: Sara Allgood, William Bakewell, Janet Blair, Ann Carter, Edward Clark
Genres: Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Family Life, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals
Studio: Critic's Choice
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 08/29/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/1947
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1947
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 31min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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Movie Reviews

Good movie but I wish the story went further
Music Lover | USA | 03/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a great movie that actually features the Dorsey's themselves. The movie tells the story of Jimmie and Tommy Dorsey growing up and their start to the music business. The story is good and the music is, of course, great. My only complaint is that I wish the story would have featured more about their career and less about how the two couldn't get along and so they went their separate ways until their father died when they made up. It's still a good movie and I do recommend it but if you're like me in wanting to learn more about the career you might actually prefer The Glenn Miller story."
Quality of picture a negative
Alan D. Shaffer | 04/17/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I am a collector of the early movies. The stories and music and acting usually are so much better than the average movie today.

This story of the Dorseys was good. The quality of the picture, however, was as if a Dvd was made off of a VHS. This should not be.

Alan D. Shaffer
Creve Coeur, MO"
The Dorsey music, what there is of it, is fine, but it keeps
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 04/10/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Why spend a moment slogging through this awkward and self-conscious movie? Every now and then, after an hour of tedious plot and amateur acting, we start getting bits and pieces of the big band swing that made Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, separately and together, the great musicians they were. Occasionally -- in a jam session with Art Tatum, with Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra doing "Marie" and, a standout, Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra fronting Bob Eberle and Helen O'Connell singing "Green Eyes" -- we get a complete song.

Unfortunately, the movie is in the public domain and the DVD transfer is just as bad as the acting. My copy has only four chapter stops. That means you can get arthritis in your fast-forward finger trying to speed through to where the good stuff is. The swamp you're moving through is Hollywood's version of the life and battles of the two Dorseys. Tommy, superb on trombone, and Jimmy, superb on saxophone, usually couldn't stand each other. In 1935 they finally split, with Tommy starting his own orchestra. Each had greater success alone than they had achieved together. They reconciled when their father died in the Forties, which is where the movie ends. They later managed to tolerate each other in the orchestra led by Tommy as the big band era faded out in the Fifties. Tommy died in 1956 at age 51, vomiting in his sleep after booze, pills and a big meal. Jimmy died of cancer at 53 in 1957. Jimmy was hugely talented and, from all accounts, a reasonably easy-going guy. Tommy was hugely talented and, from all accounts, often an overbearing jerk. But good music makes up for a lot of faults, and the Big Band sounds the two created helped define the swing era.

They play themselves in the movie, and we see them develop from tussling tykes (with child actors) to grown men battling and yammering at each other. The movie is lumbered with not just their two parents, played by those Hollywood Irish clichés, Sara Allgood and Arthur Shields, who just want their boys to get along with each other, but also with a major sub-story involving a romance between Janet Blair, as a childhood friend of the Dorseys who becomes a vocalist with them and serves as a nearly full-time mediator and enabler, and William Lundigan, as a piano player. Blair is not bad at all. However, if you want to see why she never became the star she quite probably should have become, just look at the films, like this one, that her studio put her in. No wonder she left Hollywood. Lundigan simply takes up space.

How bad is this movie, other than when we can actually hear the Dorseys play? Well, here's a song written especially for the movie and given to Blair to warble. It's called "To Me."

To're the rose of a rosary
The rise of a rising sea
The glow of a star

The rose of a rosary? The movie doesn't get any better than this, and it can't get worse. Still, if you like the Dorseys and if the price is right...well, in hindsight I'd still not buy it. The highlight, for me, is Eberle and O'Connell singing "Green Eyes." You can watch them on You Tube for free. You'll also find there quite a bit of each of the Dorseys. I wish I'd known."