The Fabulous Dorseys

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The Fabulous Dorseys
Directed byAlfred E. Green
Screenplay byArt Arthur
Curtis Kenyon
Based onThe Battling Brothers Dorsey
1946 The Saturday Evening Post
by Richard English
Produced byCharles R. Rogers
StarringTommy Dorsey
Jimmy Dorsey
Janet Blair
CinematographyJames Van Trees
Edited byGeorge M. Arthur
Music byLouis Forbes
Leo Shuken
Charles R. Rogers Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists.[1]
Release date
  • February 21, 1947 (1947-02-21) (US)
Running time
88 min.
CountryUnited States

The Fabulous Dorseys is a 1947 musical biopic which tells the story of the brothers Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, from their boyhood in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania through their rise, their breakup, and their personal reunion.[2] The film was also released under the alternate title The Fighting Dorseys.


The film is a musical comedy based on the lives and careers of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. The Dorsey Brothers star as themselves. Other actors include Janet Blair, William Lundigan, Sara Allgood and Arthur Shields. Janet Blair demonstrates that she is a highly competent singer.

The "side plot" focuses on a romance between Jane, who grew up with the Dorseys and becomes the singer with their band, and Bob Burton, who leaves his employment as a support pianist for the cinema and joins the Dorseys. Bob writes music and strives to complete an original American-sound concerto.

There are also cameo appearances by other jazz musicians of the period: Paul Whiteman, Charlie Barnet, Henry Busse, Bob Eberly, Helen O'Connell and Art Tatum.[3] Pianist Tatum "is shown playing in a night club with the piano surrounded by the Dorsey brothers and other well-known musicians, who finally join him in an ensemble blues."[4]

The Jimmy Dorsey composition and theme song "Contrasts" is played in the movie. "Green Eyes", "Tangerine", "I'll Never Smile Again", "Marie", and "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" are also featured in the movie, along with "To Me" and "Dorsey Concerto". Paul Whiteman and the Orchestra perform "At Sundown". Art Tatum performs "Turquoise" and "Art's Blues" at the piano.

The film was written by Art Arthur,[5] Richard English and Curtis Kenyon. It was directed by Alfred E. Green.[5]



  1. ^ The Fabulous Dorseys at Allmovie
  2. ^ Goldsmith, Melissa U. D.; Willson, Paige A.; Fonseca, Anthony J. (2016-10-07). The Encyclopedia of Musicians and Bands on Film. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-4422-6987-3.
  3. ^ Walker, Leo (1964). The Wonderful Era of the Great Dance Bands. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. p. 224.
  4. ^ Lester, James (1994). Too Marvelous for Words: The Life and Genius of Art Tatum. Oxford University Press. p. 176. ISBN 0-19-509640-1.
  5. ^ a b "THE FABULOUS DORSEYS". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2020-02-29.

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