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The Jazz Singer: Special Edition (2 Discs)

Released on 12 November 2007

Featuring: Al Jolson, May McAvoy & Warner Oland

Format: DVD | Rating: PG

3.0 out of 5 (1 customer review) | Write a review

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Cantor Rabinowitz is concerned and upset because his son Jakie shows so little interest in carrying on the family's traditions and heritage. For five generations, men in the family have been Cantors in the synagogue, but Jakie is more interested in jazz and ragtime music. One day, they have such a bitter argument that Jakie leaves home for good. After a few years on his own, now calling himself Jack Robin, he gets an important opportunity through the help of well-known stage performer Mary Dale. But Jakie finds that in order to balance his career, his relationship with Mary, and his memories of his family, he will be forced to make some difficult choices.

customer Reviews

 Average rating (1 review)

 Not a riveting film but still a piece of history

| | See all Motorhead's reviews (25)

If it wasn't for the fact that this was the first publicly released 'talkie' then The Jazz Singer would probably have faded into insignificance now. As a film in its own right it is not great (although its interesting to see Warner Oland in his pre-charlie chan days) and the script about a father and son who fall out then make up at the end is soppy sentimentalism and like a third rate soap opera in places. There are also some scenes in which blackface makeup is used which may upset some politically correct viewers (remember this film is over 80 years old though so such sensitivities didnt really exist then).

However there is no denying the historical significance of this film. Although only a small portion of it actually has any spoken dialogue (recorded and played back seperately on the vitaphone disc system) it showed that audiences wanted to hear actors as well as see them by its enormous box office success, thereby changing the way films would be made forever. Vitaphone would have gone the way of the dinosaurs within five years of this films release (when sound on film proved a more practical way to record sound) but within 2-3 years of this film the major studios stopped making silents and with this a lot of old careers died and new ones were born (see the film 'Singin in the rain' for an idea of the impact of sound). Incidentally 'The Jazz Singers' director Alan Crosland died aged just 41 in 1936

Like i said, the Jazz Singer isn't a great film in its own right but the disc is worth getting not just to see the film that changed moviemaking but also because Warner Bros have put a really good set of extras on the disc that should appeal to all lovers of old films and film students.

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ActorsAl Jolson, May McAvoy, Warner Oland, Cantor Rosenblatt, Eugenie Besserer, Otto Lederer, Robert Gordon & Richard Tucker
DirectorAlan Crosland
Screen1.33:1 Fullscreen
Duration1 hour and 28 minutes (approx)
RegionRegion 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.