IMDb > The Singing Fool (1928)
The Singing Fool
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C. Graham Baker (adaptation)
C. Graham Baker (story)
View company contact information for The Singing Fool on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 April 1929 (Ireland) See more »
"When there are gray skies, I don't mind the gray skies, you make them blue---Sonny Boy." See more »
A singing waiter and composer (Al Jolson) loves two women (Betty Bronson, Josephine Dunn), conquers Broadway and holds his dying son, singing "Sonny Boy." Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
A Big Hand for Josephine Dunn! See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order)

Al Jolson ... Al Stone

Betty Bronson ... Grace

Josephine Dunn ... 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)

Helen Lynch ... Maid
Agnes Franey ... 'Balloon' Girl
The Yacht Club Boys ... Singing Quartette
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jack Stoutenburg

Carl M. Leviness ... Carl - Waiter at Clicquot Club (uncredited)

William H. O'Brien ... Waiter at Blackie Joe's (uncredited)
Bob Perry ... Doorman at Blackie Joe's (uncredited)

Directed by
Lloyd Bacon 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
C. Graham Baker  adaptation
C. Graham Baker  story (as Leslie Burrows)
Joseph Jackson  dialogue (titles)

Original Music by
Shelton Brooks (uncredited)
Jules Buffano (uncredited)
Louis Silvers (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Byron Haskin 
Film Editing by
Ralph Dawson 
Harold McCord (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Frank Shaw .... assistant director
Sound Department
George Groves .... sound recording engineer (as George R. Groves)
Music Department
Louis Silvers .... conductor
The Vitaphone Symphony Orchestra .... orchestra
Edmund Ross .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Louis Silvers .... music arranger (uncredited)
Other crew
Lewis Geib .... technician
Esdras Hartley .... technician
F.N. Murphy .... technician
Victor Vance .... technician

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
105 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Vitaphone)

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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Singing Sap (1930)See more »
Laugh, Clown, LaughSee more »


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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
A Big Hand for Josephine Dunn!, 24 April 2010
Author: JohnHowardReid

Not all early talkies were all-talking. One of the most notable of the hybrid's is 1928's "The Singing Fool" in which Al Jolson makes a valiant attempt – despite a sticky script and Lloyd Bacon's uncertain direction – to outdo his "The Jazz Singer" (1927). The movie is about three-quarters talkie, one quarter silent. Aside from the jarring of sudden swings from spoken dialog to title cards and the camera fluidity of Bacon's direction in some of the silent sequences versus the static camera set-ups of the sound, the movie succeeds in holding attention thanks to the charisma of its two lead players, Al Jolson and the lovely Josephine Dunn, who, alas, was unable to capitalize on her success here because she was then cast in a series of either indifferent or silent vehicles (when the public was screaming for sound). Within a year, she ended up in support slots. In this movie, despite the magnitude and importance of her role, Miss Dunn is actually billed under Betty Bronson who not only has a minuscule part but a totally inept voice that lacks projection. She seems to be whispering her lines (some of her words are inaudible) rather than speaking them. But never mind, all the film's audio defects were of no importance to moviegoers. They loved Jolson's full-blooded singing and the sheer novelty of sound. Initial domestic rentals topped $5 million, supplanting the $4.5 million takings of 1921's "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse". It wasn't until 1938 that this record was broken by Walt Disney's truly colossal $8 million domestic gross for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".

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