Monday, 26 December 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1946: William Demarest in The Jolson Story

William Demarest received his only Oscar nomination for portraying Steve Martin in The Jolson Story.

William Demarest portrays Steve Martin a vaudevillian cellist who discovers Al Jolson. They eventually work together for awhile until Jolson becomes far more successful leading Jolson to go on his own, but he eventually brings Martin back as his manager. The part of Martin is thin, just as the whole film is that is far more interested in reenacting various Jolson musical numbers more than really developing any of its characters to a fuller extent.

William Demarest has a nice warm presence on screen as Steve Martin who acts a mentor to Jolson. There really is not much to his part though other than either giving Jolson supportive talks, or trying to convince that he should probably try to take it easier. Demarest does all of this well enough. He is supportive as he should be, and as mentory as he should be, but none of what he does is amazing.

Demarest really though does gives my favorite performance in the film although that is not saying much. He does his best with his character with the limited amount he is given which only lessens as the film continues on. It is not a great performance just one that is as it should be. There are no special moments, but Demarest is consistently competent throughout.


joe burns said...

Never seen him...

Do you like Al Johnson? I think Swanee is a great song, as is Rockabye Baby, but I'm most familiar with Judy Garland's versions.

Louis Morgan said...

To be honest I have not seen or heard enough of Jolson to really have that much of an opinion on him.

Anonymous said...

William Demarest is one of my favorite character actors: he was great in Preston Sturges comedies.


dinasztie said...

Never seen him and probably never will.