The Jazz Singer - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Jazz Singer Reviews

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December 7, 2012
Would like to see at some stage.
½ December 5, 2012
Well the first feature-length movie with audible dialogue ...
November 10, 2012
Minusta tää on kyllä melkosen dorka leffa jopa 20-luvun standardeilla!
October 15, 2012
i guess black face is supposed to be really offensive but its just goofy to me. old timey songs do not hold up. not a bad story
½ August 26, 2012
I have some issues with the way Judaism is depicted, but other than that it's a good and historically interesting movie
August 2, 2012
To many this was labelled the first ever sound film.... it isn't.... but for most mainstream audiences it was. And in another sense it's really a silent film with synchronized sound sequences in the singing scenes.

It is a good film on it's own despite it's historical importance. The concept of this orthodox Jew turn between family tradition and a career in entertainment is fascinating to watch.

Al Johnson was fantastic as the silent & singing lead and really was the main vehicle of the film. It is a little creaky in parts but it's interesting seeing the major change in musical entertainment & society in general.

This is a key film in cinema history to see one of the most important films of all time....
½ July 31, 2012
This is worth watching for historical value. I did not know until I watched it this evening that it was actually a silent film with synchronized music and singing interludes, not a full talking picture. If you liked "The Artist" or "Hugo" you'll appreciate this film's historic value. Too, it's interesting to see New York on film 80 years ago.

Having seen it at last, I can check off one of the 1001 Films I Apparently Must See.
Super Reviewer
June 30, 2012
It's not just the first movie in history with sound, it's a gripping experience about losing and regaining family over a career achievement.
June 24, 2012
The first sound movie has actually only five minutes of sound in it, despite the film being 90 minutes long. It was simply one song, which changed movie history forever. Afterwards, audiences and studios wanted sound forevermore. The story is pretty decent. A Jewish man goes against his family's wishes and follows his dreams as an artist. It's timeless, effective and still holds up today.
April 27, 2012
The first talkie was surprisingly well-made for 1927. Interesting picture that was part-talkie, part-silent. Judaism is a prominent feature in this groundbreaker.
Super Reviewer
½ April 27, 2012
Hoary old chestnut that should be seen for its historical significance, aside from that its the ripest kind of melodrama. Overwrought acting, clutched bosoms, fevered declamations, the works are on display here. Do keep an eye out for a young Myrna Loy, just starting out, as a chorus girl.
April 21, 2012
The first and Al is great!
February 23, 2012
There's something positively electric when he first hear Al Jolson belt out "Dirty Hands, Dirty Face", the first minutes of synchronized sound in a full-length feature. I found it to be captivating, and for me the most memorable moment is the joy of Jolson's mother as he sings "Blue Skies" to her, and the back and forth dialog they have about buying her a pink dress. It's something special when you know about, and the actors are discovering, this new format for movies.

That said, the film's music is the best part, and while the story of a Jewish boy how is forced from his home when his father won't accept his love of jazz is an interesting one, I think it gets a bit slow at times, and overly sentimental. It hardly distracts from this watershed of a film, and I couldn't think of a better choice of the first "talkie" than a musical, particularly jazz.
Super Reviewer
January 28, 2012
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see Michel Hazanavicius' lovable The Artist, a film about a silent film actor's fall from stardom as Hollywood made the transition from the Silent Era to the Sound Era in 1927. My love for The Artist sparked my interest in The Jazz Singer, the very first feature-length film to incorporate synchronized sound into its story. Its popularity at the time led to the Talkie Revolution seen in The Artist. I feel that The Jazz Singer's legacy and impact on cinema is much more impressive than the actual quality of the film itself. It is one of the most historically important and influential films of cinema, but by today's standards it is rather dull and has aged very poorly. The acting in particular is somewhat awkwardly portrayed. The storyline of a man running away from home to pursue stardom seems overdone and cliche, but that is not to say that it wasn't original in its time. Perhaps this story was creative or daring in 1927, but it's nothing new for a modern audience. The flow of the film feels clumsy and disjointed as it repeatedly switches back and forth between silent and sound film. The film is even a bit racist at times as well.

When The Jazz Singer is viewed through the eyes of a modern audience, it is difficult to comprehend the impact this seemingly insignificant film had on cinema. It spurred what many view as the greatest revolution in the history of film. Despite its many flaws, I cannot bring myself to fail it, as it has influenced films in so many ways. I can also be somewhat generous with my rating because it had the challenge of being the very first film to be done in this manner. After decades of silent films with title cards being tradition, I can imagine that it would have been hard to make the very first film of its kind, not having any other examples to go by. The Jazz Singer is full of holes but its historical significance cannot go unnoticed.
½ December 28, 2011
"The Jazz Singer" is the experiment that changed cinema forever. This is the first feature-length talkie and its popularity challenged every film studio to begin filming with sound, establishing talkies as the new standard. It is actually a hybrid of a silent film and a talkie, as the musical sequences are the only sections with an accompanying vocal track. I've seen silent films before, but the inclusion of sound really made me notice the silent moments - I chuckled as Debbie Reynolds' monologue from Singing in the Rain about "pantomime on the screen" came to mind, showing me how true that statement was and how revolutionary the inclusion of sound in film became. This film is an accurate representation of life in the 1920's and, although I have trouble getting into silent films, I enjoyed its heartfelt conflict between honoring your parents and pursuing your dreams. The film moved at a good pace and I was never bored with it. Al Jolson IS this entire movie with the perfect personality (and unique voice) to bring talking into the world of film. The beauty of his voice is reason enough to watch this film, as well as the cute love story between him and May McAvoy. It is a true testament to their acting because, without a single word of dialogue between them, you will fall in love with their love story. You can really see the transition between the older generation of silent film stars and the new generation of talkies during the scene of dialogue between Jolson and his mother. He delivers all of the dialogue with vigor as she shyly sits without uttering much of anything. She really seems to be uncomfortable with the scene, but in all of her silent sequences she shines. My only complaint about this film is its use of blackface. I always feel uncomfortable with anything involving blackface, but became okay with it in this circumstance for two reasons. 1. It is culturally significant to this character piece from the 1920's. 2. There is no racial mocking in the two blackface performances (unlike "Babes in Arms"). I can't give this film my highest rating because there are a ton of films that I'd watch a second time before I'd repeat this one, but I truly enjoyed this piece of cinematic history and believe that it should be seen by everyone to appreciate the progression from silent films to talkies.
November 4, 2011
It's not perfect, but it is a landmark that remains very moving.
½ October 24, 2011
The first talkie, it still very much feels like a silent film due to its sparing use of title cards & sparing use of sound. When it does break out into songs at select moments it's surprising how effective & revolutionary it feels; like Dorothy from black & white Kanzas waking up in technicolor Oz.
September 11, 2011
Starring Al Jolson as the title character, THE JAZZ SINGER is much more than just the first full-length feature with sound.
½ September 4, 2011
Unexpectedly the most exiting thing about Jazz Singer is not that it's the first part-talkies, but that it is a story about cantor's son. And the choise between his God and his calling for jazz turns out to be so tense struggle in his soul, that Al Johnson's Kol Nidre sounds like a real prayer.
September 3, 2011
It was just plain terrible even if it was historically important.
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