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The Jazz Singer

The Jazz Singer(1953)

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  • Supporting actor plays lead...needs support.

    • Don Letta
    • 9/4/14

    Let's face it, in the 1950's movie audiences wanted pretty... Pretty men, pretty women, pretty sets and pretty clothes. This film ticks all the boxes but one; that being the leading man. Danny Thomas was born to play side-kicks, best buddies, comic relief. Giving him the lead in The Jazz Singer guaranteed a less than glowing reception. His performance was one-note, bordering on cloying. Peggy Lee did all she could to save his lackluster performance with her style and spirit, but this role required a strong presence and Danny simply didn't have it. At the time this was made, Mario Lanza would have been a perfect replacement; young and handsome and brilliantly gifted. He would have been the swing vote, turning the film from so-so to so great.The entire cast with the exception of Thomas was excellent, the production was first class...but there was a big hole right in the middle of it.

  • Jews in the USA were nervous in the 1950's

    • BigGuy
    • 9/2/14

    The height of American Anti-Semitism was at the beginning of the US entry into WW2 and right after the war -- 1942 and 1943, 1946 and 1947. The worst epithet for American politicians in the 1930's and 1940's was not being called a Communist, but being called a "N------ Lover", the next worse to that was being called a "Jew Lover", THEN came being called a Communist.Hollywood continued to be fearful of Anti-Semitism after the War. There's a review of "The Jazz Singer" remake in 1952 on imdb by anthonyrwaldman that explains it all. It's condensed below.The Jazz Singer is one of a number of films made in the late 1940's and 1950 about the Jewish experience in the United States. Other than Crossfire(1947) and Gentleman's Agreement(1947) which dealt with anti-semitism they usually had a musical-theatre background. These films included The Jolson Story(1946), Jolson Sings Again(1949), The Eddy Duchin Story(1951), The Eddie Cantor Story(1953),The Benny Goodman Story(1956) and Margorie Morningstar(1958). The leading actors in these "Jewish" films were always played by non-Jews. For example Larry Parks a non-Jew played Al Jolson and Gene Kelly played Noel Airman in Marjorie Morningstar. This casting was probably done to make the Jewish theme palpable to a mainly non-Jewish audience. The Jazz Singer(1952) is no different. Danny Thomas was a devout Catholic and Peggy Lee was certainly not Jewish although she plays a non-practicing Jewess in the film. The clue to her background is when she attends the Golding's family meal before entering she says "I haven't been to a sader (passover service) since I left home".There is much more to this film than this. This film was made after the Rosenberg trial during the McCarthy whitchhunts and the Hollywood blacklist. Therefore in this film the Jews are shown as good loyal citizens and are quintessentialy American. The synagogue choir would rather play baseball than practice. The cantors friends also talk about baseball.

  • Good Movie

    • Steve Powers
    • 7/8/12

    I LOVE most old movies beteen 1930 and 1960. After 1960 is when many movies lost their star power and appeal. This one - a good movie not filled with a bunch of TRASH like one of the reviewers here probably prefers.

  • Make room For Danny

    • Susan
    • 7/8/12

    I truly enjoyed this movie with Danny Thomas and Peggy Lee. It was sweet and nastalgic. Soemthing I can watch with the kids.

  • another horribly boring old movie.

    • dubako
    • 9/11/11

    i hate old movies. i feel mentally and emotionally scarred anytime i see a film made between 1930 and 1960. i want to bite my fingers off i get so angry at the site of a film like this one. the runtime of "the jazz singer" is roughly 7 hours and 45 minutes. there is not a single exterior shot in the entire movie. most scenes consist of a single, straight on shot of someone singing for ten minutes (we can assume that the directors limited the songs to ten minutes because the reels of film were only 11 minutes long and they didn't want to shoot more than one angle for each scene). i hate this movie so much. you could read a book in the amount of time it takes to watch this movie. it traps you in zone where time passes more slowly. you will feel that you have been watching this film for thousands of lifetimes. every shot is almost exactly the same. the film was obviously shot entirely within the confines of a studio apartment sized studio (filled with talentless people and cigarette smoke). i hate this movie so much.

  • Danny Thomas in 1953

    • Donna Millmore
    • 2/6/10

    If you haven't seen this version of the movie, you really should try to find it. Mr. Thomas is in excellent form as the ex-soldier trying to break into "show biz" much to his father's displeasure.Messuers Jolson and Diamond did a fine job, but nothing can top Mr. Thomas's "break" as the comic in the nightclub scene. Miss Peggy Lee's talent is not wasted either, her scenes and songs are as good as it gets.

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