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Say It with Songs (1929)

Passed | | Drama, Musical | 24 January 1930 (Ireland)
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 »


Lloyd Bacon


Darryl F. Zanuck (story) (as Darryl Francis Zanuck), Harvey Gates (story) | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview:
Al Jolson ... Joe Lane
Davey Lee ... Little Pal
Marian Nixon ... Katherine Lane (as Marion Nixon)
Holmes Herbert ... Dr. Robert Merrill
Kenneth Thomson ... Arthur Phillips
Fred Kohler ... Fred, Joe's Cellmate
Frank Campeau ... Police Officer
John Bowers ... Dr. Burnes - Surgeon
Ernest Hilliard Ernest Hilliard ... Radio Station Employee
Arthur Hoyt ... Mr. Jones
Claude Payton Claude Payton ... Judge


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 Trisha Warren

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sonny Boy and his singing Daddy are here again. (Newspaper ad). See more »


Drama | Musical








Release Date:

24 January 1930 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Cantaré para ti See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Vitaphone production reels #3417-2426 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 »


Why Can't You
Written by Al Jolson, Buddy G. DeSylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson
Performed by Al Jolson
See more »

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User Reviews

Jolson's Awful Performance Makes the Film Worth Watching
16 September 2018 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Say It with Songs (1929)

** (out of 4)

Radio personality Joe Lane (Al Jolson) is about to get a major break in his career but his wife (Davey Lee) tells him that his best friend hit up on her. Joe ends up punching the man and this punch actually kills him so he is sent to prison where he dreams of returning to his wife and child.

Jolson made Warner a fortune with THE JAZZ SINGER, which was the first blockbuster that used some songs in what was basically a silent movie. From there Jolson scored another hit and the studio rewarded him with a $500,000 contract for this picture. This here would turn out to be Jolson's first full blown talkie and it also turned into his first box office bomb and in all honesty the film is incredibly awful but thankfully it's so bad that you have to watch it.

I guess I should say that Jolson is so awful that it's easy to recommend this movie. Now, to be fair, Jolson was a singer so perhaps his acting shouldn't be judge too harshly but at the same time he was able to make a career in front of the camera. The most shocking thing is just how truly awful his performance is here. There are some really embarrassing moments scattered throughout the film including one scene where Jolson breaks down crying in his jail cell and is consoled by his cell mate. This is certainly one of the worst and most hilarious things I've seen from a movie during this era.

Even without the awful performance you've got a lot of other campy moments as well. The screenplay is about as generic as you can get and this includes some really bad melodrama throughout. This is especially true towards the end of the picture. I won't spoil what happens but you can't help but sit there and laugh at all of the "drama" that is taking place in front of your eyes. The film's direction from Lloyd Bacon isn't much better but at the same time I'm going to guess that he just didn't have too much to work with.

Jolson does sing a few numbers throughout, which range from good to fair but at the same time these certainly weren't enough to save the picture. SAY IT WITH SONGS is a really poor movie but at the same time it's very much entertaining in a bad way.

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