The Death Knell For Silent Films.
Al Jolson’s first lines “Wait a minute! You ain’t heard nothing yet!” presciently described the future of cinema.
American Film Institutes Ranking: #90
Academy Awards: Was ruled ineligible for top awards at the 1st Academy Awards (1929) because so many silent films would be displaced.
Jazz Singer has two reasons for its present day notoriety: it was the first ever feature-length talking film; it uses a lot of black face by Al Jolson.
What gets lost between these two things is that the film content itself is surprisingly good. The story is a basic father vs. son/conservative vs. liberal retelling that’s told from a Jewish heritage perspective. The twist makes it different and meaningful. Interspersed are song numbers by Al Jolson that still resonate.
A review of this movie requires a lot of history and cultural perspective. Here we go.