Two lessor known stars of the 20s and thirties were brought to life on the screen by two of the top stars of the 1950s.
Up until 1955 Doris Day had been known for her sparking musicals. But there had been glimpses of her dramatic ability in Young Man With a Horn, and Storm Warning. But when she left Warners and MGM cast her as Ruth Etting in a fictionalized account (but then again aren’t they all fictionalized) of the famous singer of the 20s. Day hit new heights.
Meanwhile, over at Columbia, the studio thought it was time to give Kim Novak a try at carrying a picture by herself. They chose the biopic of 1920’s stage and early screen star, Jeanne Eagels. And gave Kim Jeff Chandler for support.
It ain’t Vertigo, but still worth a look-see.
Meanwhile the Fifties provided a profusion of music and entertainment related biopics. Remember Mario Lanza? Well he starred as opera superstar Enrico Caruso in 1951’s The Great Caruso. Then there was Susan Hayward as vocalist Jane Froman in With A Song in My Heart.
In 1954 came James Stewart in a superb performance as bandleader Glenn Miller in The Glenn Miller Story. On a lesser level came Bob Hope as vaudevillian Eddie Foy Sr. in 1955’s The Seven Little Foys.
Also, let’s not forget The Benny Goodman Story with Steve Allen taking the role of America’s most successful swing era bandleader. And who can forget Sal Mineo’s performance as Goodman drummer Gene Krupa in 1959’s The Gene Krupa Story.
There was Nat King Cole as WC Handy in 1958’s St. Louis Blues; Donald O’Connor as the incomparable Buster Keaton in the Buster Keaton Story; and Tyrone Power as society bandleader Eddie Duchin in 1955’s The Eddie Duchin Story.
And let’s not overloon Ann Blyth’s performance in the 1956 biopic, The Helen Morgan Story. Wow, that’s a lot of biopic action for one decade. Susan Hayward had really unleashed a trend.