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
The shot of the theater program around 1:27:25 shows Jack's crucial opening night as "Wednesday evening, September 14th, 1927". In the story, this is the eve of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur); however, in 1927, the eve of Yom Kippur was Wednesday evening, October 5. See more »
The saloon pianist's cigarette behind his ear disappears and re-appears between shots. 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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George Jessel passed up a chance to star in this movie. he thought sound in film was too risky a venture to try and took a pass. Al Jolson went on to stardom and George became known as a toastmaster at Hollywood roasts. This is an excellent movie that certainly belongs on anyone's list of 100 best movies. The story has been ably told here, I won't repeat it. I do want to add a few observations, however. The movie is very sentimental, especially in it's portrayal of "Mama" and Jolson's devotion to her. Even when it first came out, writers were critical of this, which harked back to the days of broad stage melodramas. The use of the song Kol Nidre and the Jewish day of Atonement at the ending is significant in that forgiveness and reconciliation is what this movie's theme is all about. Recommended highly, many of the scenes are etched in the consciousness of movie-goers whether you have seen this movie or not. Jolson in blackface doing "Mammy" and "Mother Of Mine", singing "Toot, Toot, Toosie Goodbye". Seeing this film will bring back all these images and place them in their proper contexts. The minstrel type show or even blackface solos were still going strong in the 1920s. In the 1930s and even into the 1940s famous Hollywood actors such as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney among many others would still be doing songs in blackface. This was no isolated case by a long shot. See it and see history. Also see it for what it is, a classic Hollywood story.
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