THE JAZZ SINGER

(1927)
With Al Jolson, Mary McAvoy, Warner Oland
Directed by Alan Crosland
Silent (with sound sequences), Black and White
Reviewed by JB

     A silent-sound hybrid that tells the story of a cantor's son who defies his father's wishes and seeks a career as a pop music singer.  Mostly silent, but features several sound sequences of twenties superstar Al Jolson struttin' his stuff through several classics including "Toot Toot Tootsie" and "Blue Skies". 

    People responded not only to the songs, but also to some dialogue Jolie ad-libbed while the cameras were rolling. That response, having nothing to do with the hoary story itself, is what convinced Hollywood that talkies were the wave of the future.  So God only knows why Hollywood later felt the need to remake this plot twice, once with Danny Thomas and again with Neil Diamond.  Especially when Warner Brothers animator Tex Avery had already directed the best remake, the cute 6-minute cartoon "I Love to Sing-a", starring "Owl Jolson".  Four stars for Jolie,  minus two stars for everything else. 2  - JB

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