The Jazz Singer - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Jazz Singer Reviews

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½ April 7, 2014
The Jazz Singer relies on the charm of its leading man Al Jolson and the chill inducing moment when his voice rings across your speakers and he utters those famous words "ladies and gentlemen you ain't heard nothing yet" to set it apart from any other film of the 20s and 30s. True that it was the first film that used voice but other then that groundbreaking technique and Jolson's performance The Jazz Singer is just an average film from early cinema history.
½ March 24, 2014
Disregarding the history, "The Jazz Singer" is a mildly entertaining film. That is the first feature length film to feature synchronized dialogue. Sound had been synced to film before...dialogue in some shorts, and a full synced music track on a feature...but this was the first feature to use dialogue, and it was a huge hit...sound made it's make on film. Filmgoers didn't quite know it, but they ain't heard nothin' yet. Al Jolson plays a guy dying to get his big break as a jazz singer, but his father, a Jewish Cantor, disowns him for not following his father and his ancestors into being a Cantor for the Synagogue. Jolson portrays the anguish of being torn between his passion for jazz and his past of being Jewish well, but most of the acting in this is over the top. No restraint like in some of the better silent films, which this film mostly is (only a few scenes feature sound). Sure the blackface stuff is dated, but I honestly expected it to be more inflammatory. An important landmark in cinema history, but certainly a tad dated.
March 15, 2014
History in the making, coupled with a serviceable storyline and wonderful performances by Al Jolson.
March 15, 2014
History in the making, coupled with a serviceable storyline and wonderful performances by Al Jolson.
February 10, 2014
Talkies/Vitaphone feat since this film with its supernal perfornances by Jolson.
January 10, 2014
Although this is the first movie to use sound, there are quite a few silent scenes. Nevertheless, this is a pretty cool movie. Most of the part-talkies made from 1927 to 1929 have sadly been lost through the years, and those which remain can only be described as curios and relics of a changing time. 'The Jazz Singer' is important, but it is a hard slog for today's audiences.
January 6, 2014
Not particularly memorable, apart from it being the first movie to use audible dialogue.
½ January 1, 2014
I finally watched this film after hearing about it all my life - but, it wasn't what I thought or expected. I had seen the Neil Diamond version when it came out over 30 years ago, and didn't care for it much at all. However, I figured it had to be better than the original - and since that version was so corny I assumed the original was even cornier . . . and it is - although it is also quite a significant film on several levels.

I've always known that this film was the first "talky" - however, I had no idea that it is still essentially a silent film, with the same styles of over-emphasized acting, dialog cards & editing. The only sound is during the songs, and one short scene of dialog. It has very stereotypical, and even insulting, portrayals of Jews and jazz singers - as well as the infamous black face scenes . . . however, it is an interesting peek into cultural perceptions in the 1920's. Faith vs. art, culture vs. tradition, values vs. success, race vs. public perception, musical styles in transition vs. establishment, etc. I found it quite fascinating & entertaining, with some genuine thematic depth - albeit overwrought, corny, and racist in places. It is certainly a treasured time capsule with historical significance that is worth analysis and discussion.
½ November 8, 2013
My film history teacher said this is an awful film, but I think it's pretty good. I mean, what do you expect out of the first "talkie." It's a bit racist though.
September 18, 2013
For being one of the most important films in history, its easily one of the least entertaining films I've ever seen.
½ August 28, 2013
Regardless of its actual quality, its official status as the first talkie has made it one of those historical monuments that's effectively beyond criticism. (For the record, it wasn't the first picture with synchronized sound, nor the first without title cards, but never mind.) It's certainly true that its plot was old hat even upon its actual release, and the actors are caught awkwardly between acting for silent cinema and acting for theatre. But the drama between fathers and sons, old and new, tradition and innovation is occasionally quite affecting, and the constant switching between sound and silence unintentionally embodies that conflict. And Al Jolson has enormous presence up on screen, and undoubtedly has the tear in his voice. And how many moments in cinema are more prophetic than the first line of dialogue spoken in American film, heralding the sounds of the future? Indeed, we ain't heard nothin' yet.
½ August 28, 2013
Es muy sobrevalorada por su valor historico, la primer pelicula sonora de la historia, sin embargo es extremadamente superficial, predecible, mal actuada y simplemente no interesa a la audiencia en la historia. Un avance estupendo en tecnologia cinematografica pero más alla de ello, es una pelicula promedio.
July 13, 2013
Very schmaltzy and predictable (and a little racist with the black face), but still entertaining and historically significant. I still think I like the Simpsons parody episode with Krusty the Klown better.
½ July 8, 2013
This film soars on the storytelling and the brilliant ideas it had, even with a less-than-perfect execution.
June 20, 2013
Despite the " black face it's a good film.
½ June 20, 2013
Historische Relevanz, historische Relevanz, historische Relevanz. Wie ein Mantra muss man diese zwei Wörter vor sich herbeten um sich durch diesen Film zu quälen.

The Jazz Singer wäre heute zu Recht vergessen, als ein recht minderwertiger Output des kommerziellen Hollywoodkinos der End-20er. Kein großer Name führte Regie, kein großer Star spielt die Hauptrolle (zumindest keiner, den man heute noch kennt, aber dazu später mehr) und sowohl die Stummfilmpassagen als auch die Lieder sind bestenfalls mittelmäßig.

Lieder? Da war doch was! Genau, The Jazz Singer, war anno 1927 der erste große Feature mit synchronisiertem Sound. Dies äußert sich in rund acht Musiknummern und einer kurzen Dialogszene, die hübsch über den Film verteilt sind. Dabei werden populäre Lieder der damaligen Zeit und einige sakrale jüdische Gesänge wiedergegeben.
Der Film handelt nämlich vom Sohn eines jüdischen Kantors, der als Kind von zu Hause weglief und nun zum berühmten Musicalstar aufsteigt, doch gerade jetzt als er am Weg zu Ruhm und Reichtum am Broadway ist, kommt ihm seine Vergangenheit in die Quere. Genau, schnarch!!! Das kennt man schon, und die Art und Weise wie The Jazz Singer diese Story interpretiert ist weder neu, noch sehr gut.

Aber, You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet!" Sound verdammt! Als filmgeschichtlicher Meilenstein ist The Jazz Singer wohl noch bedeutender als Citizen Kane, wobei sein ästhetischer Einfluss vergleichbar gering ausfällt. Die Qualität des Tons ist auch bescheiden, und die normalen" Passagen sind eher langweilig und generisch.

Immerhin zeigt Hauptdarsteller Al Jolson was er kann. Der gute Mann war zu dieser Zeit ein berühmter und gefragter Star am Broadway. Zu Recht, der Mann hat Charisma. Um ihn singen zu sehen ohne extra nach New York reisen zu müssen, ging man in The Jazz Singer, und auch deshalb wurde der Film zum Erfolg. Heute ist Jolson, bis auf sein Mitwirken in diesem Film in Vergessenheit geraten, doch ironischer Weise, ist es noch immer sein Mitwirken, dass diesen Film halbwegs erträglich macht.
February 27, 2013
"The Jazz Singer" is widely hailed as the first sound film, but it's really more accurate to describe it as a silent film (complete with intertitles) with some songs and bits of dialogue. The film itself is charming enough to stand on its own, apart from its historical importance in the development of film. Much has been made about Al Jolson's dressing up in blackface, but I think the criticism is unfair. For one, Jolson doesn't play a character in blackface in the film; he plays an actor who plays a character in blackface, which was an extremely widespread practice at the time (and persisted until much, much later) -- that is something that also fit in with the film's statement about shifting identities. There is also zero animus expressed towards black people per se -- he is simply depicted as an aspiring actor/singer who is cast in the kind of role that was common for the time: the film is oblivious on the issue of race rather than hateful. Don't hate the player, hate the time period in which the player is playing games.
February 6, 2013
The one film that gave (partial) sound. The one film that featured (partial) talking. The one film gave the decline of a particular film genre & the rise of another. The one film that introduced musicals. "The Jazz Singer" is, without a doubt, the best film of the 1920s! Marvelous story, music, acting, & SOUND truly made this film a gold mine in cinema history! Great to watch whenever!!!
½ February 4, 2013
Known for the first silent movie ever with audible dialogue, The Jazz Singer is more than just a film with music. It has some great songs and the father/son relationship story is well told. Easily the basis for all movies about an entertainer trying to be accepted by their family. It's a very soild musical that takes its place in film history.

Grade: B+
December 7, 2012
Would like to see at some stage.
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