This merry musical biography of “Banjo Eyes” will gladden the hearts of Cantor and musical fans alike. It’s got fabulous songs, assured direction by Alfred E. Green (The Jolson Story) and elaborate numbers typical of the Ziegfeld stage.
Keefe Brasselle plays the energetic kid from the East Side in this decades-spanning saga of the showman’s rise from singing waiter to vaudeville sensation and Ziegfeld Follies headliner, from pioneering radio days to his lifelong devotion to humanitarian causes. Cantor himself sings on the soundtrack, performing Makin’ Whoopee, If You Knew Susie, Margie, Ida, Ma, He’s Making Eyes at Me and other signature tunes. He and wife Ida make a charming cameo appearance in this musical that will surely touch hearts and lift spirits all over.
Not as good as The Jolson Story, but a very entertaining musical bio.
While this film is not as good as The Jolson Story, it is nevertheless very entertaining. Eddie Cantor dubbed the songs for Keefe Brasselle, and it is Cantor's great voice and the exciting songs that make the movie. Songs like Ida, Sweet As Apple Cider, If You Knew Susie, Potatos Are Cheaper, Margie, and I'd Like To Spend each Sunday With You are just great. Brasselle has taken criticism for his portrayal of Cantor, but he really does a pretty good job. Parks was better in the Jolson bio, but in fact, Brasselle resembled Cantor in appearance more than Parks resembled Jolson.
The musical numbers were great, but...
I love Eddie Cantor and was looking forward to finally seeing this biopic. I really enjoyed the musical numbers, but I have to say the dramatic scenes were painful. I'm sure Eddie Cantor didn't carry his stage personna into his personal life. I'm sure he didn't mug and roll his eyes when conversing with his friends and his wife. But that's what Keefe Braselle did. It got pretty annoying. On the other hand, the musical numbers were tremendous and Mr. Braselle nailed the moves and the facial expressions. Of course, hearing the voice of Eddie Cantor was wonderful. I'm wondering if the songs were recorded for the movie, (as in The Jolson Story) or whether older recordings were used.
If You Knew Eddie
Not to be out done by his late rival Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor got a biographical film of his own. It's no more true to life than The Jolson Story in fact it may be less true. Cantor had his faults, but on the whole was a nicer person than Jolson. But in fact these films are only an excuse to hear the many songs identified with Cantor over the course of his almost 50 years as an active performer beginning with him as a child working in one of Gus Edwards productions for talented kids.
Keefe Brasselle is superficially suggestive of Cantor and the lipsynching of Cantor standards is performed well. I don't think he came close to capturing the inner Cantor. Best in the film is Aline McMahon as Eddie's fabled Grandma Esther who raised him after he was orphaned.
At least the Jolson Story got it right that Al Jolson was not the man's birth name, he's presented to us as Asa Yoelson the cantor's son (no pun intended) from the beginning. Eddie Cantor's real name was Izzy Ishkowitz, but that was never brought up at all. It's the biggest error of the film.
The film stops in the early 30s and Cantor had at least 20 more years of active performing. It's adequate, but catch some of his films if you want to know what a marvelous performer Eddie Cantor was.
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