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The Jazz Singer (1927)


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Old 07-04-2013, 22:09
grimtales1
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I just watched:

The Jazz Singer - 1927 (Blu Ray): 3/5

An interesting curio... I'm not sure what the first full talkie was - this may have been the first Hollywood film with synchronised sound and audiable dialogue, making it the first "talkie" officially but in fact there are only 2 scenes with any dialogue, its pratically a silent film otherwise.
Generally a good performance by Al Jolson playing a man torn between duty to his parents (and his Jewish roots) and his new life as a jazz performer in the theatre. However, the blackface stuff is just wrong.
At least I can say I've seen the film, it probably isnt my thing though but I'm pleased I saw it
The Merrie Melodies parody I Love To Singa is very funny
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Old 08-04-2013, 20:55
elnombre
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I don't find the blackface in the movie to be an issue at all. It's simply there to show (as it was in Jolson's live act) that he was taking on the spirit and character of the black performers of the day, a way of freeing himself from his oppressive Orthodox Jewish roots. Were there any element of parody or condescension, it would be another matter, but as it is, it stands as an envious tribute to the black jazz performer
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Old 08-04-2013, 21:50
grimtales1
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I don't find the blackface in the movie to be an issue at all. It's simply there to show (as it was in Jolson's live act) that he was taking on the spirit and character of the black performers of the day, a way of freeing himself from his oppressive Orthodox Jewish roots. Were there any element of parody or condescension, it would be another matter, but as it is, it stands as an envious tribute to the black jazz performer
I didnt think of it like that, interesting I wasn't 'disgusted' by it like, it just made me feel uneasy, I felt there wasnt any need for the blackface as Jolson was doing virtually the same act as he did as himself (a white guy)
I also thought that
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Old 08-04-2013, 22:20
Finny Skeleta
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I didn't have any problem with the blackface; it was 1927 and it was an integral part of Jolson's act and what everyone would have expected to see. Jolson's blackface was about as innocent as it gets; if you want to see some genuinely offensive blacking up then watch Birth of a Nation.

As for the film itself, it was an interesting piece of film history but it's hardly a great movie by either today's or 1927's standards. Entertaining enough but if it was made just three years later then it would have been forgotten about long ago.
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Old 08-04-2013, 22:36
grimtales1
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Yeah, fair enough I didnt see Jolson's blackface as a really negative portrayal but stereotype it certainly was. Maybe its like the crows in Dumbo, I mean, they were stereotypes for sure, but they arent shown negatively and are actually kind to Dumbo.
I've heard/seen BoAN is incredibly racist
I agree The Jazz Singer was interesting but not a great movie, only really noteable/groundbreaking because of Jolson singing/talking. I think the movie was really an experiment though, no one really knew how to handle sound at that point (MGM were particularly slow in adapting).
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Old 08-04-2013, 22:52
Finny Skeleta
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I've heard/seen BoAN is incredibly racist
It's unbelievable.

I always assumed that it had its bad reputation because it didn't explicitly condemn the KKK but it turns out that I couldn't have been more wrong.

It's a shame because DW Griffith was a superb filmmaker but Birth of a Nation, while brilliantly made, is absolutely vile.
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Old 08-04-2013, 22:57
CLL Dodge
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I preferred the shorts on that disc. And the radio adaptation was better written.
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Old 08-04-2013, 23:08
grimtales1
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Havent heard the radio one yet - but also rented the DVD bonus disc as the BD is missing all the other bonus features like the feature length doc on the coming of sound
Apparently in the radio version
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