The Singing Fool (1928)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 167 users  
Reviews: 11 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."



(adaptation), (story) (as Leslie Burrows) , 1 more credit »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The son of a Jewish Cantor must defy the traditions of his religious father in order to pursue his dream of becoming a jazz singer.

Director: Alan Crosland
Stars: Al Jolson, May McAvoy, Warner Oland
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Joe Lane kills another man in a fistfight after learning that the man has made improper advances towards his wife. Joe goes to prison for the murder. When Joe gets out of prison, he visits ... See full summary »

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Al Jolson, Davey Lee, Marian Nixon
Mammy (1930)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A love triangle develops in a traveling minstrel troupe.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Al Jolson, Lois Moran, Lowell Sherman
Enchantment (1921)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The frothy experiences of a vain little flapper. Her father induces an actor friend to become a gentlemanly cave man and the film becomes another variation of the 'Taming of the Shrew' ... See full summary »

Director: Robert G. Vignola
Stars: Marion Davies, Forrest Stanley, Edith Shayne
Big Boy (1930)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Gus, the trusty family retainer, has hopes of riding his boss' horse, Big Boy, to victory at the Kentucky Derby.

Director: Alan Crosland
Stars: Al Jolson, Claudia Dell, Louise Closser Hale
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Harry Musk is one in a million. Adult, pint-sized Harry longs to be part of the big world.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Paul Dale, Lorraine Miller, Will Geer
Highway 301 (1950)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Led by a psychotic killer, a vicious gang of armed robbers terrorizes Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina, robbing banks and payrolls and murdering anyone who might identify them

Director: Andrew L. Stone
Stars: Steve Cochran, Virginia Grey, Gaby André
Frisco Kid (1935)
Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

After a roustabout sailer avoids being shanghaied in 1852 San Francisco, his audacity helps him to arise to a position of power in the vice industry of the infamous Barbary Coast.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: James Cagney, Margaret Lindsay, Ricardo Cortez
Rawhide (1951)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A stagecoach stop employee and a stranded woman traveler find themselves at the mercy of four desperate outlaws intent on robbing the next day's gold shipment.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Tyrone Power, Susan Hayward, Hugh Marlowe
Going Wild (1930)
Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Rollo and Lane just happen to be tossed off the train at White Beach where Robert Story -Air ace and writer- is supposed to stop. It is a case of mistaken identity as no one knows what ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Joe E. Brown, Lawrence Gray, Ona Munson
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A young kid from Upstate New York named Eddie (Landis) is conned into fronting for a speakeasy on Broadway. Throughout the con there is an inevitable chorus-girl with a heart of gold (... See full summary »

Director: Bryan Foy
Stars: Helene Costello, Cullen Landis, Mary Carr
So Long Letty (1929)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Uncle Claude comes to the Ardmore Beach Hotel to see Tommy and his wife. At the hotel, with his two granddaughters Ruth and Sally, Uncle Claude meets a wise talking employee named Letty ... See full summary »

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Charlotte Greenwood, Claude Gillingwater, Grant Withers


Credited cast:
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)
Agnes Franey ...
'Balloon' Girl
The Yacht Club Boys ...
Singing Quartette
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jack Stoutenburg


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


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


Musical | Drama





Release Date:

19 April 1929 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

A Última Canção  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jolson's song "The Spaniard That Blighted My Life" is no longer in existing prints. The number was cut after its composer, Billy Merson, sued Warner Bros., charging that Jolson's version impinged on his own (Merson's) livelihood, as he was still performing it in the U.K. Only the Vitaphone disc of the song is known to survive. See more »


Referenced in Clean Pastures (1937) See more »


From Monday On
Written by Harry Barris and Bing Crosby
Played on the dance floor at Cafe Cliquot
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"Climb Upon My Knee Sonny Boy"
6 May 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Herbert Goldman's recent biography of Al Jolson makes the case that with the release and success of The Singing Fool Jolson was at the height of his career. His big Broadway successes and all the songs associated with them were behind him and his future song hits would be identified primarily with film. And the incredible profits The Singing Fool was bringing to Warner Brothers because people could not get enough of the novelty of sound was giving Jolson new vistas for his talent. More people saw him in The Singing Fool than ever did on Broadway or all the road tours he made with his stage shows.

If The Jazz Singer was mawkish and sentimental, The Singing Fool doubled the bet in that pot. Jolson plays a singing waiter who gets a big break because a Broadway producer spots his act. A woman who is played by Josephine Dunn who wouldn't give him the right time of day before now sees success and its tied to Jolson. She and Al marry and they have a child whom we never hear identify as anything else, but Sonny Boy.

In fact the child is the only thing Jolson really cares about other than his career. When one is taken the other goes downhill.

A lot of Jolson's previous song hits were interpolated into The Singing Fool as in The Jazz Singer. Two new songs were written for him and became identified with him, There's A Rainbow Round My Shoulder which to me fits his style perfectly and is the best thing in the film. The other is Sonny Boy.

In the film The Best Things In Life Are Free there is a scene where Jolson played by impersonator Herbert Brooks calls Gordon MacRae, Ernest Borgnine, and Dan Dailey who play the songwriting team of DeSylva, Brown and Henderson and asks them to write a maudlin sentimental ballad he has to sing to a child. They sit down and write one to those specifications and the three of them as well as Jolson are shocked it becomes a hit. Goldman's book says there's reason to believe the story is true.

For nearly the entire film Jolson plays it without blackface. Then the finale with him singing Sonny Boy again he dons the minstrel cork to me for no apparent reason. It will forever be a mystery to me why Jolson continued to use the blackface long after he didn't need to.

Fans of Al Jolson should see The Singing Fool and folks who want to know about his performing art should see it as well. It is mawkish, maudlin, and sentimental and all Jolson.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD LouisRenault
JOLSON STORY style Kickstarter larrystopmo-1
Discuss The Singing Fool (1928) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: