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
Although the first film to have synchronized audio and speech, much of the film is still presented using title cards, most likely due to sound disks lacking enough memory to show the entire film with sound. During the original release, many cinemas showed it as a fully silent film, due to not having the equipment for the Vitaphone Sound Disk System. See more »
When Jack is writing the aforementioned August 7 letter to Mary following the Yossele Rosenblatt recital, immediately after he writes the words "nearly stopped," there is a splice in the film (but not the soundtrack) and the insert of the writing is repeated at an earlier point so that Jack writes the same sentence again. This may have been to allow for a reel/disc change, since there is a conspicuous pause of silence in the middle of the shot where the music cue ends and another begins. See more »
[opening lines, first quote and first words in the first widely-seen talking picture]
Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain't heard nothin' yet! Wait a minute, I tell ya! You ain't heard nothin'! You wanna hear "Toot, Toot, Tootsie"? All right, hold on, hold on...
[then he walks back to one of the band members]
Lou, listen. Play "Toot, Toot, Tootsie", three chorus, you understand. In the third chorus, I whistle. Now give it to 'em hard and heavy, go right ahead.
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Yosl, Yosl (Joseph, Joseph)
Written by Samuel Steinberg and Nellie Casman
[Played several times during New York street scenes. Originally written for the Yiddish Theater] See more »
I rate the movie a "10" for its historical significance. "The Jazz Singer" is the answer to the perennial trivia question, "What was the first sound motion picture?" Certainly there were other talkies before this, but this one, the first feature-length talkie in the world -- is the one that turned Hollywood and the movie-going public on its ear.
It's fascinating. We think of "The Jazz Singer" as a talkie, but most of the picture is in typical "silent pictures" style -- with intertitles (title cards) to convey character dialog. Only with Jolson's vocal numbers and two other scenes is the new sound technology is used, and we hear the voice of the man many have called the world's greatest entertainer.
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