I Dream of Jeanie (1952)

Genres - Comedy, Musical, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], Showbiz Drama  |   Release Date - Jun 15, 1952 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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A dreadful little biopic, I Dream of Jeanie purports to be about the life of famous American composer Stephen Foster, but of course has almost nothing to do with the man's real life. This is typical for Hollywood, of course; unfortunately, as is also all too often typical, the "life story" they choose to create for the film is trite, clich├ęd, predictable and downright annoying. There have been few leading male characters in this kind of film as irritating as Jeanie's "Stephen Foster," who is so spineless and dull that one longs to slap him. Aside from the tired story and the exasperating leading character, the screenplay suffers from terribly dull dialogue. What saves Jeanie -- just barely -- from being a total disaster is the score (of course) and the voices that sing them. As Foster, Bill Shirley is a wash-out when it comes to his acting -- but he sounds beautiful when he opens his mouth in song. Ray Middleton, saddled with the unfortunate duty of headlining the obligatory (and very discomfiting) "blackface" section, turns in a rousing performance, and Muriel Lawrence also adds some pleasant vocalizing. None of this can come anywhere near making Jeanie a good picture -- but it does provide some welcome relief from the dreck.