The Jazz Singer
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On the verge of receivership in 1926, Warner Bros. studio decides to risk its future by investing in the Vitaphone sound system. Warners' first Vitaphone release, Don Juan, was a silent film accompanied by music and sound effects. The studio took the Vitaphone process one step farther in its 1927 adaptation of the Samson Raphaelson Broadway hit The Jazz Singer, incorporating vocal musical numbers in what was essentially a non-talking film. Al Jolson stars as Jakie Rabinowitz, the son of Jewish cantor Warner Oland. Turning his back on family tradition, Jakie transforms himself into… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"In cities where the Vitaphone can be installed and reproduce his voice this picture will eminently repay attendance."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"It's ragged and dull until the magical moment when Jolson turns to the camera to announce, 'You ain't heard nothin' yet' -- a line so loaded with unconscious irony that it still raises a few goose bumps."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"The Jazz Singer is a shallow attempt by a powerful group of straying Jews to clear their consciences."
‑ Jordan Hiller,
"There's one thing that neither Neil Diamond nor Danny Thomas nor even Jerry Lewis had in their versions: the unrivaled showmanship and charisma of Al Jolson."
‑ Will Harris,
"Three quarters of a century later, viewing 'The Jazz Singer' is perhaps a historical curiosity to many. It is an insult to overly sensitive others."
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
"Undoubtedly the best thing Vitaphone has ever put on the screen."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"A film whose appeal is almost solely historical, for a multitude of reasons."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"By today's standards, The Jazz Singer is mawkish, crudely filmed, and full of schmaltz. Yet it remains fascinating in its historical value, not only for its technical innovation."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"...there's no taking away from the movie's heart and Jolson's singing. The Jazz Singer remains a classic of its kind."
‑ John J. Puccio, Movie Metropolis
"Must-see for any film buff."
‑ Christopher Null,
"The Vitaphoned songs and some dialogue have been introduced most adroitly."
‑ Mordaunt Hall, New York Times
"The Jazz Singer is not a good picture artistically, but it's historically significant and Al Johnson is truly entertaining"
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"An overrated cinematic turd, and an embarrassment to Jazz."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"The Broadway melodrama is schmaltzy, but the music thank God is heavenly."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"A landmark: the first sound film in which dialogue and song caught the public's imagination, even though sound had long existed and much of this film is silent."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for The Jazz Singer on Rotten Tomatoes