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.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.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.
- Jakie Rabinowitz - Age 13as Jakie Rabinowitz - Age 13
- (as Bobby Gordon)
- Cantor Rosenblatt - Concert Recitalas Cantor Rosenblatt - Concert Recital
- (as Cantor Joseff Rosenblatt)
The love interest here is so unusual. He does fall in love with a pretty dancer, but tells her plainly that his career is more important than she is. She later doesn't become part of the choice as would be the case in nearly every other script instead she becomes part of the audience, presenting the dramatic quandary: the stage or God.
The presentation of religion is unique in my experience. Everyone here is a Jew, except the performers. They are the "real" and everyone else is "pretend," performing. Though there are many opportunities to fall into obnoxious stereotypes, its avoided over and over. That's despite the dozens of examples they had before.
In fact, there's an amazing engineering of story here. As any viewer will know, this was the first talkie. It was new, and to emphasize its newness a story was created to emphasize the contrast between old and new.
This film is part silent, part "talkie." It shows a struggle between the old (obviously obsolete) and the vital young. It also depicts in a rather subtle but effective way the "old" god, and the new: there's plenty of talk about the performance hall being a modern church. The music as well: we have the implication that it is not only the setting, the performer and the calling, but the music itself that is something new.
Along the way we get street scenes of the Jewish area of New York. These are genuine street scenes and are absolutely phenomenal: there isn't anything I know that compares. There was an attempt of sorts in "The Pawnbroker," which by itself was strong. But nothing compared to this.
Ted's Evaluation -- 4 of 3: Every cineliterate person should experience this.
- Feb 10, 2007