Jolson Sings Again

Jolson Sings Again is a 1949 American musical biographical film directed by Henry Levin, and the sequel to The Jolson Story, both of which cover the life of singer Al Jolson. The film received three Oscar nominations at the 22nd Academy Awards.

Jolson Sings Again
1949 Theatrical Poster
Directed byHenry Levin
Produced bySidney Buchman
Written bySidney Buchman
StarringLarry Parks
Barbara Hale
William Demarest
Ludwig Donath
Music byGeorge Duning
Morris Stoloff
CinematographyWilliam E. Snyder
Edited byWilliam A. Lyon
Columbia Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • August 10, 1949 (1949-08-10)
Running time
96 min
Box office$5 million (est. US / Canada rentals)[1][2]


In this follow-up to The Jolson Story, we pick up the singer's career just as he has returned to the stage after a premature retirement. But his wife has left him and the appeal of the spotlight is not what it used to be. This time Jolson (Larry Parks) trades in the stage for life in the fast lane: women, horses, travel. His father (Ludwig Donath) becomes increasingly concerned about his frivolous lifestyle. With the death of his mother (Tamara Shayne) and the beginning of World War II, Jolson comes back to earth—and returns to the stage.

Once again teamed with manager Steve Martin (William Demarest), Jolson travels the world entertaining troops everywhere from Alaska to Africa. When he finally collapses from exhaustion it takes young, pretty nurse Ellen Clark (Barbara Hale) to show him there is more to life than "just rushing around".



Jolson Sings Again was the most popular film of 1949.[2]


"Jolson Sings Again bids fair to par The Jolson Story grosses and may even top them. In short, a smasheroo of unqualified proportions."[3]:8 "...Jolson's voice is still a formidable, awesome, and grandiously captivating instrument."[4]

"There is heart, humor, tragedy and a warm sprinkling of sentiment in Mr. Buchman's story. Much of the latter is conjured up by a succession of nostalgic songs which run all through the film and are sung in grand style by Mr. Jolson himself. The vitality of the Jolson voice is suitably matched in the physical representation provided by Larry Parks, who by now comes close to perfection in aping the vigorous expression with which Jolson tacks a song."[5]:16


"Jolson Sings Again is a well-made sequel to The Jolson Story. In some ways, it betters the original. If anything, Jolson's voice sounds even better in this movie, and Larry Parks' Jolson is a warmer, more human character here."[6]

In this sequel, the story reaches the point in Jolson's life where the film of his life is to be made (first film: The Jolson Story), and in preparation for the film Jolson meets the actor who is to portray him. In what is probably a cinema first, Parks plays both Jolson and himself (the young Larry Parks) as they meet in a split-screen scene.[6] :116-117

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
1950 22nd Academy Awards Best Story and Screenplay
Sidney Buchman
Best Scoring of a Musical Picture
Morris Stoloff and George Duning
Best Cinematography, Color
William E. Snyder
2nd Writers Guild of America Awards Best Written Musical
Sidney Buchman


  1. "All Time Domestic Champs", Variety, 6 January 1960 p. 34
  2. "Top Grossers of 1949". Variety. 4 January 1950. p. 59.
  3. Abel., Variety, August 1949
  4. Hamburger, Philip. New Yorker, August 27, 1949, pp. 37-38
  5. T.M.P., New York Times, August 18, 1949
  6. Fisher, James. "Al Jolson - a Bio-bibliography" (1994)
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