The Stoneman family finds its friendship with the Camerons affected by the Civil War, both fighting in opposite armies. The development of the war in their lives plays through to Lincoln's assassination and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan.
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. Written by
Warner Brothers quietly threw in the towel on the Vitaphone disk process in 1932. Not wanting to risk losing the disks, Warner Bros. had all of the Vitaphone sound for the film transferred to optical tracks on the side of the film itself in the 1930s. See more »
In his dressing room before rehearsal, Jack puts on a suit with short lapels and three buttons. But he performs on stage in a jacket with longer lapels and two buttons. Also, a breast pocket handkerchief appears and disappears both on stage and off. See more »
Whatever might be the shortcomings of this famous film, it is an uncanny experience to visit it from time to time. As we know, although it's the first 'talki' it's mostly a silent movie with all that entails. Nevertheless, those moments when sound and image are synchronised, often just for one side of the disc used for the soundtrack, are electrifying. The heat is turned up by the fact that Al Jolson improvised some of his lines, much to the horror of his stage mother. And besides, the tale of the errant son making good in the big lights is affecting. The music is superb, and we are rewarded by some haunintg evocations of the Jewish cantor tradition. I love the film.
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