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 ...
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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 his son "Little Pal" at school. Little Pal tries to follow Joe downtown, but is hit by a truck.Written by
In a separately filmed trailer, Vitaphone production reel #3068, Al Jolson talks to the audience about the film. See more »
When Marian Nixon gets Al Jolson's record of "Little Pal" out of an album to play for their son Davey Lee, in the long shot the record is on the real-life Victor label, but in the insert closeup the record is on the fictitious "Metropolitan" label. See more »
Al Jolson's first all-talking picture produces uneven results
This was my first time to view this film, having only heard about it by reading the book A Song in the Dark: The Birth of the Musical Film, which painted a totally unflattering portrait of this film, to say the very least. This film is not as bad as you would gather by reading other reviews on the subject. In the first place, Al Jolson was a great entertainer, but he never was a great actor. Also, you have to understand that Jolson's films were mainly just made as vehicles for audiences to see and hear what Al Jolson did best - sing his heart out. His films were never meant to be competition with "All Quiet on the Western Front".
The problem here is that this film is obviously recycling parts of "The Singing Fool" - primarily the big love Jolson's character has for his little son, "Little Pal", again played by Davie Lee. Jolson plays ex prize fighter Joe Lane, now a radio star married to a devoted wife who is losing patience with Joe's continued love for gambling. At the same time, the manager of the radio station where Joe works is infatuated with Joe's wife and puts the moves on her. Of course Joe's wife tells him what happened. Joe then confronts the guy and an argument between the two ends in Joe landing an all too effective punch that results in Joe going to prison for manslaughter.
The plot is thin even for 1929, but as over-the-top as Jolson's acting style could be in these early films, he is still much more natural before the camera than many other full-fledged movie actors of the time. That and the fact that it is always a pleasure to hear and see Jolson sing makes this worth watching. I only wish that the songs could have been a bit more memorable. Only "Seventh Heaven" really sticks with you. Also note that this is one of very few Warner Brothers films that still survive from 1929. I think there are only seven in all that are still with us in their entirety. My recommendation would be that this is a definite must-see if you are a Jolson fan - I am. If you are not, then you probably won't enjoy it at all.
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