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13 user 6 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:

Lloyd Bacon

Writers:

C. Graham Baker (adaptation), C. Graham Baker (story) (as Leslie Burrows) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

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

The world's greatest entertainer Al Jolson in his greatest singing triumph - an absorbing love story. See more »

Genres:

Musical | Drama

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 April 1929 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

El loco cantor See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$10,900,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,862,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »


Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played at midnight on New Year's Eve
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The first talking picture many people ever saw
14 November 2009 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

The Singing Fool" is relatively unknown compared to the previous year's "The Jazz Singer", probably because it was the first feature film with synchronized dialogue. However, 1928's "The Singing Fool" is important for a number of reasons. For one, it was the first talking picture many people ever saw. Remember that in order to exhibit a talking picture special equipment had to be installed in the theater, and theater owners weren't sure enough of the future success of talking pictures to invest in that equipment until well after "The Jazz Singer" came and went. Also, "The Singing Fool" was the top box office draw of 1928. In fact, with the Great Depression just over the horizon, no film made more money until "Gone with the Wind" in 1939. Finally it is one of the very few talking pictures that survive from the year 1928 due to the ease of breakage of the Vitaphone discs.

The story behind "The Singing Fool" is not that remarkable. It is overly sentimental and you can see from the start exactly where it is headed. Jolson plays singing waiter Al Stone who loves snobby Molly, a singer at the night spot where he works. Likewise, Al is loved in secret by the cafés's cigarette girl. When Al makes a big hit with an agent, Molly suddenly finds Al - and his money and fame - very attractive. Of course Al is blind to Molly's poisonous ways until it is too late. You have to remember that the whole purpose behind the film is to give you a chance to see and hear the world's greatest entertainer, Al Jolson, singing on screen in his prime. In this film you get that in bigger doses than you got in "The Jazz Singer". So, if you are a Jolson fan, you are in for a big treat. However, be warned this film is what was known in 1928 and 1929 as a "goat gland" movie. That is, it is part silent. The exact ratio is about 75% talking, 25% silent. How it is chopped into sound/silent portions is particularly baffling. Some dialogue is sound, then will abruptly transition to silent. Warner's had already made an all-talking picture, in fact they made the first - 1928's "The Lights of New York". That film was supposed to be a two reel short that grew to six reels when Jack Warner was out of town, but it was a huge hit and sent the march towards talking pictures into overdrive. With the technical challenges of making an all-talking picture behind them, you would have thought Warner Bros. would have made Jolson's second talking picture an extra special effort and given it the all-talking treatment too. They didn't, but it was still a huge success. In conclusion, if you are a Jolson fan and you are interested in the early sound era of motion pictures, you'll love this film.


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