The Jazz Singer

1927 film by Alan Crosland / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Jazz Singer is a 1927 American part-talkie musical drama film directed by Alan Crosland and produced by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is the first feature-length motion picture with both synchronized recorded music and lip-synchronous singing and speech (in several isolated sequences). Its release heralded the commercial ascendance of sound films and effectively marked the end of the silent film era with the Vitaphone sound-on-disc system, featuring six songs performed by Al Jolson. Based on the 1925 play of the same title by Samson Raphaelson, the plot was adapted from his short story "The Day of Atonement".

Quick facts: The Jazz Singer, Directed by, Screenplay by, ...
The Jazz Singer
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlan Crosland
Screenplay byAlfred A. Cohn
Based onThe Jazz Singer
by Samson Raphaelson
Produced byDarryl F. Zanuck
StarringAl Jolson
May McAvoy
Warner Oland
Yossele Rosenblatt
CinematographyHal Mohr
Edited byHarold McCord
Music byLouis Silvers
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • October 6, 1927 (1927-10-06)
Running time
89 minutes
96 minutes (with overture and exit music)
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.6 million (gross rental)[1]

The film depicts the fictional story of Jakie Rabinowitz, a young man who defies the traditions of his devout Jewish family. After singing popular tunes in a beer garden, he is punished by his father, a hazzan (cantor), prompting Jakie to run away from home. Some years later, now calling himself Jack Robin, he has become a talented jazz singer, performing in blackface. He attempts to build a career as an entertainer, but his professional ambitions ultimately come into conflict with the demands of his home and heritage.

Darryl F. Zanuck won an Academy Honorary Award for producing the film; Alfred A. Cohn was nominated for Best Writing (Adaptation) at the 1st Academy Awards. In 1996, The Jazz Singer was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant". In 1998, the film was chosen in voting conducted by the American Film Institute as one of the best American films of all time, ranking at number ninety. The film's copyright expired on January 1, 2023, when all works published in the U.S. in 1927 entered the public domain.

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