Mammy (1930)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Mammy features Al Jolson as the star of a travelling minstrel show, appearing in a small Southern town. Jolson falls in love with an actress in the troupe (Lois Moran), but she loves another. One of Jolson's fellow minstrels (Lowell Sherman) is shot backstage, and it is assumed thanks to several plot convolutions that Jolson is guilty of the deed. He heads for the hills, but returns to the show, his reputation restored but his love for the actress unrequited. Maudlin in the extreme, Mammy is salvaged by several enjoyable songs by Irving Berlin and by its Technicolor photography (though most TV prints are black and white). The film's fascination with modern viewers rests with the presence of Al Jolson--and with the casual use of profanity during his confrontation scene with Lowell Sherman.
Comedy , Drama , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
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Al Jolson
as Al Fuller
Louise Dresser
as Mother Fuller
Lois Moran
as Nora Meadows
Jack Curtis
as Sheriff
Stanley Fields
as Pig Eyes
Ray Cooke
as Props
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Critic Reviews for Mammy

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Audience Reviews for Mammy


Entertaining musical numbers and rewarding melodrama make Mammy a fun example of early sound-era box office hits. The minstrel show surrounding the plot is disconcerting and offensive, especially by today's standards, but you'd be hard pressed to find any intentional mean-spirited feelings towards African Americans. It's a pity the show in the film centers around men in blackface, but the film's heart is in Jolson's sincere and energetic performance. The Warner Archieve's restoration is excellent on DVD and the technicolor sequences (badly damaged but better than completely lost) add an interesting element of film history and preservation.

Caleb McCandless
Caleb McCandless

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