13 user 6 critic

The Singing Fool (1927)

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


Lloyd Bacon


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




Cast overview:
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 ... Singing Quartette


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


NEVER BEFORE HAS GREATER ENTERTAINMENT BEEN OFFERED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE (Print Ad- Rock Rapids Review ((Rock Rapids, Iowa)) 15 November 1928) See more »


Drama | Musical


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 »


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


Referenced in The Jazz Fool (1929) See more »


There's a Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder
Music by Dave Dreyer
Lyrics by Billy Rose and Al Jolson
Sung by Al Jolson
See more »

User Reviews

He sings! he yodels! he jumps about to music!
30 December 2009 | by ptb-8See all my reviews

So said Cosmo Brown about effervescent Don Lockwood in talkie satire SINGIN IN THE RAIN....and so can be attributed with equal exuberance to Al Jolson in this prehistoric box office blockbuster gramophone talkie from 1928. It is famous for a dozen reasons... all of which you can read on the other posts which explain them in detail. I waded through THE SINGING FOOL for several reason of my own: I wanted to see such a successful film from 1928; the fantastic deco atmosphere of genuine flapper 20s in the nightclub scenes, the idea this film is part talkie and part silent is quite fascinating; and is a terrific example of emerging technology of the time. The clothes furnishings and art direction are easily enough to keep you watching. The music score does not quite fit in some parts but is a valiant attempt to fully orchestrate the entire film and lay a voice track on top. Jolson looks remarkably like Steve Martin in some scenes and perhaps this notion could work in a Jolson bio today. At times I thought I was watching an alternate version of DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID. The look and style of the deco 20s as modern film making and with talking acting scenes makes it a fascinating mix. The child who plays Sonny Boy (Davy Lee) is remarkable for a 4 year old kid, very natural and quite emotional. Jolson's often-scary possessed acting style is mostly pantomime maudlin or simpleton over-expressive, but I attribute that to the silent era acting zapped with electrical wiring. A TITANIC level grosser of its day, THE SINGING FOOL was the most successful film of all time up until 1939 so make sure read the other comments. All quite fascinating.

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Release Date:

19 April 1929 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

El loco cantor See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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