Reviews

The Jazz Singer Special Edition

3

“Wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet,” utters Jakie Rabinowitz (Al Jolson) 21 minutes into the first ‘talkie’ ever made, an (ad-libbed) movie milestone that must have astounded audiences as much as when the Lumiere Brothers first threw a train at them. Accompanying the debut DVD release of this slim, sentimental fable of a good Jewish boy torn between synagogue and stage is an excellent doc on the birth of sound, from Edison’s 1891 Kinetoscope through to when bad talking pictures effectively killed off good silent ones. It was a transition so torturous you’d be hard pushed to hyperbolise, though that doesn’t stop the Troy McClure-tastic studio shorts having a go. Appraising the film today is like assessing the T Model Ford’s ability to handle corners; creaky, charming but more than a mite racist, what was “at the time a sensation is imperfect by today’s standards”, as the extras wisely demur.

 

Film Details

  • PG
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: November 12th 2007