19 July 2008 | bkoganbing
The Continuing Jolson Saga
Jolson Sings Again was a film that was almost demanded to be made by the general public. The Jolson Story had generated a comeback for Al Jolson and he was in the word of one of his hit songs, 'sitting on top of the world' in 1949.
He was going on all cylinders in 1949. Jolie hadn't commercially recorded since 1932. He had done a record of Swanee and April Showers in 1945 that went nowhere. But with the success of The Jolson Story, Decca signed him to a long term deal and he was prolifically recording all his old songs and new contemporary material besides. You should hear his Some Enchanted Evening from South Pacific, but not in Jolson Sings Again unfortunately.
Jolson had also replaced Bing Crosby after a couple of interim hosts as star of radio's Kraft Music Hall as Crosby changed sponsors first from Philco Radio to Chesterfield. They guested on each other's programs and those shows are priceless. In fact Bing is mentioned in Jolson Sings Again, but Harry Cohn couldn't get Paramount to part with him for an appearance.
Larry Parks continues his lipsynching to over a dozen Jolson standards and returning from the first film with him are William Demarest, Bill Goodwin, Ludwig Donath, and Tamara Shayne. And this one in bringing Jolson's life up to date stuck closer to the facts than The Jolson Story.
Barbara Hale plays Jolson's fourth wife Erle Galbraith renamed Ellen Clark for the film. I guess Harry Cohn figured he had to since he'd renamed Ruby Keeler, Julie Benson in the first film. It is true she was an army nurse and she met Jolie as a patient there when he collapsed on a USO tour during World War II.
If you liked the first film and Al Jolson in general, no reason you won't like this one.