Jerry dreams of becoming a famous jazz singer, but to accomplish that, he must defy his father, a Jewish Cantor who opposes such a dream as a future for a son of his.Jerry dreams of becoming a famous jazz singer, but to accomplish that, he must defy his father, a Jewish Cantor who opposes such a dream as a future for a son of his.Jerry dreams of becoming a famous jazz singer, but to accomplish that, he must defy his father, a Jewish Cantor who opposes such a dream as a future for a son of his.
*** (out of 4)
Remake of the legendary 1927 Al Jolson picture has Danny Thomas playing Jerry Golding, a young Jewish man who returns home from the war and his father David (Eduard Franz) is expecting him to become the next Cantor. The Golding family males have been the Cantor for the past six generations but Jerry explains that he wants to try his hand at show business and this causes his father to turn his back on him. The 1927 version is best remembered for being the first talkie (even though it's mostly silent) and without that I think the movie is poor enough to where it would have been forgotten by today. I was really shocked by this remake because it's actually a very well-made little film with director Michael Curtiz really pouring his soul into it. I was surprised because it did seem like it was going to be a cheap, watered down musical but instead the direction was so good and the performances so strong that one really can't help getting caught up in the story. One major thing that works so well here is the relationship between the father and son. Their relationship really is expanded here and I think the love-hate thing works for some terrific drama. It also doesn't hurt that the performances are so strong. Thomas is wonderful in the leading role because he contains a certain kind of sensitive nature that you really care for him. He also has a terrific voice that makes you really understand why he wants to break into the business. Peggy Lee plays his love interest and is strong as well. Franz nearly steals the film as the strong father who expects his son to carry on the family tradition. Alex Gerry is also very good as the caring uncle. The soundtrack includes some very good numbers including Jerry Seelan's What Are New Yorkers Made Of, Cole Porter's Just One of Those Things, The Birth of the Blues and Peggy Lee's own This Is a Very Special Day. What really brings all of this together is the great direction by Curtiz. I was very surprised to see how loving and tender the actual story was and you can tell that there was something in the story that really stuck with the director because he goes all out in each scene to bring it some life. This version of THE JAZZ SINGER isn't that well known, which is a real shame.
- Sep 11, 2011