6.3/10
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13 user 4 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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Stars: Al Jolson, Kay Francis, Dolores del Rio
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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

A smash hit grossing over $4 million, it was the most successful film in Warner Brothers history calculated at the completion of its initial release. See more »

Goofs

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


Soundtracks

The Spaniard That Blighted My Life
(uncredited)
Written by Billy Merson
Sung by Al Jolson
Recorded for the film but cut from the final print
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A bit better than his "Jazz Singer".
19 January 2015 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Despite being a super-popular and historic film, Al Jolson's picture, "The Jazz Singer", is a rather tedious movie when you see it today. Despite its reputation as 'the first talking picture', very little of it actually is this way. The songs are on the soundtrack and SOME of the dialog, but it's essentially a silent movie with a tiresome plot...along with some sound. Here with his follow up picture, "The Singing Fool", the same sort of style of film is here (essentially a silent with added dialog and music) but the overall plot is a bit better...no, a lot better. Now folks watching it today probably won't be very interested, but for its day, this was a dandy little film.

When the film begins, Al is a jovial waiter who occasionally performs in a night club. He's smitten with Molly, though she clearly does NOT reciprocate. However, when he writes a hit song and strikes it big, suddenly Molly is interested and marries Al. They have a young son, who Al adores, and life seems great to Al. However, Molly is an evil tramp and soon bores with married life. So, she runs off with a new guy--taking the baby in tow and leaving Al unable to function. What's next in this soapy film? Watch it and see.

There's a lot to love and a lot that is incredibly dated in this one. The songs might just be the best thing about this film, as I found myself singing along with Jolson's "Sittin on Top of the World" and a few other tunes. As for the tender scenes between father and son, they are a mixed bag. They were tender and enjoyable...to a point. Unfortunately, they often went overboard into a sickly, schmaltzy direction. Jolson certainly did NOT believe in subtlety in these portions of the film! Additionally, like in "The Jazz Singer", hold onto your seat, as the finale includes Jolson in black-face--a common and beloved tradition that would horrify viewers today. Oddly, despite this, the film ALSO has the first, or one of the first black actors in a talking picture-- and the guy is NOT some racist stereotype or buffoon.

Overall, despite the film having many shortcomings, it is STILL quite enjoyable and holds up well--much better than many old talkies. Mostly of interest to film historians and weirdos like me, it's still worth a look for everyone else.


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