6.4/10
170
11 user 4 critic

The Singing Fool (1928)

A singing waiter and composer (Al Jolson) loves two women (Betty Bronson, Josephine Dunn), conquers Broadway and holds his dying son, singing "Sonny Boy."

Director:

Writers:

(adaptation), (story) (as Leslie Burrows) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Grace
...
Molly Winton
Arthur Housman ...
Blackie Joe
...
John Perry
...
Sonny Boy (as David Lee)
...
Louis Marcus
Robert Emmett O'Connor ...
Cafe Owner, Bill (as Robert O'Connor)
...
Maid
Agnes Franey ...
'Balloon' Girl
The Yacht Club Boys ...
Singing Quartette
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jack Stoutenburg
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Storyline

Al Stone is singing waiter in a speakeasy who is in love with Molly, the singing star at the speakeasy, but she spurns him. Al gets his big break and goes on to become a Broadway sensation. Written by Trisha Warren

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"When there are gray skies, I don't mind the gray skies, you make them blue---Sonny Boy." See more »

Genres:

Musical | Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 April 1929 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

A Última Canção  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Contains the first song to sell over a million copies, 'Sonny Boy.' (it eventually sold over 3 million copies). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hard to Get (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Golden Gate
(uncredited)
Music by Dave Dreyer and Joseph Meyer
Lyrics by Billy Rose and Al Jolson
Sung by Al Jolson
See more »

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User Reviews

Classic Jolson at his best
1 November 2000 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

The movie is obviously designed as a Jolson vehicle. It is pretty obvious that the star came first, and everything else followed.

Despite being made in 1928, the film holds up remarkably well today, the humour being one aspect that hasn't dated. Jolson sings Sonny Boy to great effect three times, although he puts so much emotion into it that I was left wanting him to sing is straight just once. The film may seem oversentimental but if you engage with this and look at it from the point of view of a contemporary audience you will enjoy it more, and the film's shock ending is, in my opinion one of the bravest I have seen Hollywood do. In fact the only shock endings which I think compare with this are Terry Gilliam's Brazil or Doctor Who: Earthshock.

The supporting performances are sterling, but there's no other actor who has the Charisma of Jolson. It's apparent to me that nowadays, the film's leading lady, Josephine Dunn, playing a singer, would have been given one or two songs to sing, but the producers rightly realised that the audience was there to see Jolson and Jolson alone.

The film is also of historical interest, being one of the first talkies. It's apparent that synchronised sound is used sparingly, and, like its near-contemporary The Jazz Singer, the opening parts use caption slides in place of speech.

Enjoy it for its Jazz age settings, the grand costumes (Miss Dunn's gowns are particularly exquisite) and of course for Jolson's singing.


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