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The Singing Fool (1928)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 158 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

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

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(adaptation), (story) (as Leslie Burrows) , 1 more credit »
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Title: The Singing Fool (1928)

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Dressed in overalls and wearing black-face makeup, Jolson sings three of his hit songs. For the complete list, follow the soundtrack link.

Director: Philip Roscoe
Stars: Al Jolson
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Al Stone
...
Grace
...
Molly Winton
Arthur Housman ...
Blackie Joe
Reed Howes ...
John Perry
Davey Lee ...
Sonny Boy (as David Lee)
Edward Martindel ...
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
Edit

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:

17 August 1929 (Denmark)  »

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

A smash hit grossing over $4 million, it was the most successful film in Warner Brothers history calculated at the completion of its initial release. See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood: End of an Era (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

California, Here I Come
(uncredited)
Music by Joseph Meyer
Played during the intertitle about the "following four years"
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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