Product DetailsAl 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.
Store CommentsSpecial Features New digital transfer and immaculately refurbished soundtrack from restored picture elements and original Vitaphone-Sound-on-Disc recordings Commentary by Ron Hutchinson, founder of The Vitaphone Projects and Nighthawks bandleader Vince Giordano Vintage Al Jolson shorts, radio show adaptation and movie trailer gallery Classic homage cartoon "I Love to Singa" New feature-length documentary The Dawn of Sound: How the Movies Learned to Talk Surviving sound excerpts from 1929's Gold Diggers of Broadway Studio shorts from or celebrating the early sound era Over 3½ hours worth of rare, historic Vitaphone comedy and music shorts starring the greats of vaudeville and the early sound era, many recently recoved and restored after being thought lost forever 10 behind-the-scenes photo cards 12-page Vitaphone program 20-page souvenir program 4-page theater herald 16-page book with vintage document reproductions and DVD features guide Post-premiere telegram from Al Jolson and Jack Warner
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