HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
Pebble and the Boy, The
Mosquito State
Lina from Lima
   
 
Newest Articles
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
   
 
  Jazz Singer, The You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet
Year: 1927
Director: Alan Crosland
Stars: Al Jolson, May McAvoy, Warner Oland, Eugenie Besserer, Otto Lederer, Robert Gordon, Richard Tucker, William Demarest, Myrna Loy
Genre: Musical, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: When he was a teenager, singer Jakie Rabinowitz (Al Jolson) incurred the wrath of his father (Warner Oland), a cantor in the local New York synagogue just as his father had been, and his father's father and so on. Cantor Rabinowitz was furious when he discovered that Jakie preferred to sing jazz in a club rather than perform for his religion, and although his mother (Eugenie Besserer) was more forgiving, already there was a wedge being driven between the two generations, one which would last long into adulthood for Jakie...

Perhaps the most important motion picture of all time, not counting the Lumière brothers offering the world that train pulling into a station, The Jazz Singer was the first sound feature film that most people in the world ever saw. It was based on a popular stage show starring George Jessel, who missed out on his chance to become part of movie history when he was replaced by Jolson, who was a huge star of the day and a natural choice to put over a tune in what was effectively the first musical as well as the first talkie.

However, the film did not use sound all the way through, as for the most part this was a silent film in the tradition of the past three decades, complete with title cards to let us know what the characters were saying. Indeed, if it was not for studio boss Sam Warner we would have only heard the songs, and Jolson's bits of improvised dialogue would have been cut, but wiser heads prevailed and the inclusion of actual speech caused a sensation among audiences. The first line ever spoken? It was "Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain't heard nothing yet!", something of a Jolson catchphrase even before this film was released.

But what of the plot? Even to the eyes of the day this looked to be laying on the sentimentality on with a shovel, so that Jakie, who has adopted the name Jack Robin in his attempt to break into showbusiness, dotes over his mother even though he cannot see her because his father has disowned him for pursuing his career as a popular singer and not as a cantor. To make matters worse, Jakie has fallen for up and coming dancer Mary Dale (May McAvoy), but her career is leading them to split up before their relationship has even got off the starting blocks.

Are you welling up yet? The whole aim of The Jazz Singer is to make the audience weep buckets, but the most interesting part now, as then probably, are those musical numbers. Funnily enough, Jolson is not the first person we hear singing, that is his teenage incarnation Robert Gordon, and he's not the second person we hear singing, as that is future Charlie Chan Oland (either that or the chap doing his dubbing). But when the star takes to the stage, you're in no doubt of his of magnetic charm, so much so that you wish they had put more numbers into the film.

Among his best known songs are "Blue Skies" (sung to his screen mother) and "Mammy" (sung about his screen mother), so you can see this is a very mother-centric work, finding a universality in a plot that could have exclusively spoken to the Jewish worries over losing their identity in multi-cultural America. One word of warning, however: you do have to accept that Jolson performs in blackface for a sizeable portion of the story, and that can turn a lot of people off even if you are aware of the long tradition of minstrel shows. Often it's difficult not to judge the past through a filter of contemporary values. Nevertheless, this may not be the best film ever made, but it is one of the most historically interesting.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3310 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: