The jazz singer

Language and/or Subtitles: English
Format: DVD 2007
Availability: Available at 4 Libraries 4 of 6 copies
Available (4)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor Film & Audio - Musicals DVD Jazz
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor Film & Audio - Musicals
Call Number  DVD Jazz
Community Library of Castle Shannon DVD DVD Jazz Singer
Location  Community Library of Castle Shannon
Collection  DVD
Call Number  DVD Jazz Singer
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Movies DVD JAZZ Singer
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Movies
Call Number  DVD JAZZ Singer
South Park Library AV DVD JAZ
Location  South Park Library
Collection  AV
Call Number  DVD JAZ
Unavailable (2)
Location Collection Status
Northland Public Library Audio Video CHECKED OUT
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Audio Video
Shaler North Hills Library Audiovisual CHECKED OUT
Location  Shaler North Hills Library
Collection  Audiovisual
On the verge of receivership in 1926, Warner Bros. studio decides to risk its future by investing in the Vitaphone sound system. Warners' first Vitaphone release, Don Juan, was a silent film accompanied by music and sound effects. The studio took the Vitaphone process one step farther in its 1927 adaptation of the Samson Raphaelson Broadway hit The Jazz Singer, incorporating vocal musical numbers in what was essentially a non-talking film. Al Jolson stars as Jakie Rabinowitz, the son of Jewish cantor Warner Oland. Turning his back on family tradition, Jakie transforms himself into cabaret-entertainer Jack Robin. When Jack comes home to visit his parents, he is warmly greeted by his mother (Eugenie Besserer), but is cold-shouldered by his father, who feels that Jack is a traitor to his heritage by singing jazz music. Several subsequent opportunities for a reconciliation are muffed by the stubborn Jack and his equally stubborn father. On the eve of his biggest show-business triumph, Jack receives word that his father is dying. Out of respect, Jack foregoes his opening night to attend Atonement services at the temple and sing the Kol Nidre in his father's place. Through a superimposed image, we are assured that the spirit of Jack's father has at long last forgiven his son. Only twenty minutes or so of Jazz Singer is in any way a "talkie;" all of the Vitaphone sequences are built around Jolson's musical numbers. What thrilled the opening night crowds attending Jazz Singer were not so much the songs themselves but Jolson's adlibbed comments, notably in the scene where he sings "Blue Skies" to his mother. Previous short-subject experiments with sound had failed because the on-screen talent had come off stilted and unnatural; but when Jolson began chattering away in a naturalistic, conversational fashion, the delighted audiences suddenly realized that talking pictures did indeed have the capacity to entertain. Despite its many shortcomings (the storyline goes beyond mawkish, while Jolson's acting in the silent scenes is downright amateurish), The Jazz Singer was a box-office success the like of which no one had previously witnessed. The film did turn-away business for months, propelling Warner Bros. from a shoestring operation into Hollywood's leading film factory. Proof that The Jazz Singer is best viewed within its historical context is provided by the 1953 and 1980 remakes, both interminable wallows in sentimental goo. Worse still, neither one of those films had Al Jolson--who, in spite of his inadequacies as an actor, was inarguably the greatest musical entertainer of his era. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
It wasn't really the first talkie, but its release marked the death knell for silent pictures when Jolson, as the rabbi's son who wants to be a Broadway star, told the audience You ain't heard nothin' yet.
Additional Information
Subjects Jazz musicians -- New York (State) -- New York -- Drama.
Jewish singers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Drama.
Fathers and sons -- Drama.
Musical films.
Feature films.
Video recordings for the hearing impaired.
Publisher Burbank, CA :Warner Home Video,2007
Edition Three-disc deluxe ed.; 80th anniversary ed.; full screen.
Other Titles Day of atonement.
Contributors Crosland, Alan, 1894-1936.
Jolson, Al, 1886-1950.
McAvoy, May, 1901-1984.
Oland, Warner, 1880-1938.
Raphaelson, Samson, 1896-1983. Day of atonement.
Warner Bros. Pictures (1923-1967)
Vitaphone Corp.
Warner Home Video (Firm)
Participants/Performers Al Jolson, Mary McAvoy, Warner Oland.
Other Contributors Musical score and Vitaphone Orchestra directed by Louis Silvers.
Audience Not rated.
Language English
In English; with optional English, French, or Spanish subtitles; with optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired.
Notes Based on the play: Day of atonement / by Samson Raphaelson.
Originally produced as a motion picture in 1927.
Accompanying material may include: 10 behind-the-scenes photo cards, a 12-page vitaphone program, a 20-page souvenir program, a 4-page theater herald, a 16-page book with vintage document reproductions and DVD features guide, and a post-premiere telegram from Al Jolson to Jack Warner.
Special features (disc 1): optional audio commentary by Ron Hutchinson (founder of The Vitaphone Projects) and Nighthawks Bandleader Vince Giordano; 4 vintage Al Jolson short films; classic cartoon "I love to singa" ; Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of "The jazz singer", also starring Jolson (1947); Jolson trailer gallery.
Special features (disc 2): "The dawn of sound : how the movies learned to talk" documentary (2007); surviving excerpts from 1929's "Gold diggers of Broadway"; 5 studio shorts from or celebrating the early sound era.
Special features (disc 3): rare & historic Vitaphone shorts from the Warner Bros. vaults.
System Details DVD; region 1; full screen presenation; dual-layer; Dolby digital mono.
Description 3 videodiscs (96 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in.
ISBN 1419856227
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