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The Eddie Cantor Story

The Eddie Cantor Story(1954)

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teaser The Eddie Cantor Story (1954)

Eddie Cantor is probably best known today as a character played expertly by Stephen De Rosa on Boardwalk Empire. For a fuller sense of the man's stardom check out this genial biopic, with Cantor appearing briefly as himself before Keefe Brasselle takes over the title role. The film focuses on his rise from running with street gangs in New York's East Side through amateur contests before he lands a coveted spot in the Ziegfeld Follies. Cantor had resisted earlier efforts to film his life story until gossip columnist Sidney Skolsky -- who had earlier worked on the acclaimed Al Jolson biography, The Jolson Story (1946) -came up with a plotline he liked. Warner Bros. even hired the earlier film's director, Alfred E. Green, to helm the picture and got Cantor to dub the songs. His performances of such standards as "If You Knew Susie," "Yes! We Have No Bananas" and "Makin' Whoopee" are a highlight. So, too, are supporting turns from Aline MacMahon as the grandmother who raised Cantor, Gerald Mohr as a gangster for whom he works early on, Marie Windsor as a temperamental leading lady, Will Rogers, Jr. as his own father and longtime Jimmy Durante associate Jackie Barnett as the great Durante.

By Frank Miller

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