Joe Lane kills another man in a fistfight after learning that the man has made improper advances towards his wife. Joe goes to prison for the murder. When Joe gets out of prison, he visits ... See full summary »
Harry and Inez are a dance team at the Wonder Bar. Inez loves Harry, but he is in love with Liane, the wife of a wealthy business man. Al Wonder and the conductor/singer Tommy are in love ... See full summary »
Al Howard may be a star on Broadway, but he is no longer welcomed by any producer. It seems that he just trots off to Mexico any time he wants causing shows to close and producers to lose ... See full summary »
The tenements are home to an international community, including the friends and family of a tough young ragamuffin named Annie Rooney, but their neighborhood may be threatened by a dangerous street gang.
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
The maudlin plot is obviously a matter of taste, but Al Jolson himself said he thought 'The Singing Fool' a better film than 'The Jazz Singer', and it unquestionably displays an impressive advance in the development of the sound film in the space of less than a year, and stands up remarkably well after nearly ninety more.
It's still only a part-talkie (and owes its impressive opening twenty minutes to the fact that it's been shot as a silent with a subjective camera roaming around a vividly depicted speakeasy) to the accompaniment of a Vitaphone score, until Jolson bursts on to the screen, starts his patter and then sings.
Like 'The Jazz Singer', 'The Singing Fool' returns to being a silent film after the first song; but the sound scenes are far more frequent and adroitly assembled into a narrative here, while the Vitaphone score (which also accompanies the dialogue scenes, so we don't get the terrible stilted silences that render so many early talkies almost unwatchable) fluidly papers over the cracks, keeping the entire film flowing gracefully, aided by the smooth photography of Byron Haskin and editing by Ralph Dawson. (Several of the characters speak in both titles and on the soundtrack, including Arthur Housman, in an unusually prominent role in which he remains sober throughout.)
Although leading lady Josephine Dunn is supposed to be a singer herself, we never hear her sing; and her character is so one-dimensionally a heartless high maintenance chancer that - considering she has a hunk played by Reed Howes perpetually in tow - one has time to wonder if Sonny Boy (who looks more like a little girl) is actually Jolson's.
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