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
An historic film, billed as "the first talkie," this was a surprise because many of the lines are not verbalized, only when Al Jolson sings or just before or just after his songs. Otherwise, most of it is still a silent film with the words shown on the screen as in the other silent films.
This is a powerful story with interesting characters and good songs, to boot. It was different to see Warner Oland as somebody else besides Charlie Chan. He played Jolson's father and I never would have recognized him had I not read the credits. Nor would I have recognized William Demarest.
Jolson, however, is the man who dominates the film. Some of this songs wound up being classics, ones played for years and years, such as "Toot, Toot Toosie" and "Mammy."
Faced with a very tough decision on what to do with his life, Jolson's character does the right thing in the end, which was nice to see. Overall, it's entertaining.
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