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Say It with Songs

Say It with Songs(1929)

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teaser Say It with Songs (1929)

The success of The Singing Fool (1928) made Jolson his own tough act to follow. At the third birthday party for Vitaphone, Warners brass and Jolson were all smiles, but behind the scenes Jolson was angling for more money, in the form of a profit sharing deal. When Warners wouldn't pony up, Jolson threatened to leave - until Warners paid out a $500,000 salary for this melodramatic musical about a radio star (Jolson) whose life takes a sharp dive into one misfortune after another after he kills a man with a knockout blow for trying to woo his wife (Marian Nixon). While full of high-vitality Jolson numbers like "I'm In Seventh Heaven", as well as a winning pairing with child star Davey Lee (also of the Jolson picture Sonny Boy (1929)), several songs were deleted from later prints because of rights disputes. Unique in the Jolson filmography for having no African-American characters (and no blackface numbers), Say It With Songs made $2.25 million worldwide even though Daryl Zanuck met criticism for the shamelessly sentimental story.

By Violet LeVoit

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