However, it was not the first film in which actors talked or made noise, The Jazz Singer release heralded the commercial ascendance of sound films and ended the era of silent cinema. Soon after it launched in 1927, people all around the world were reacting strange for sound.
The Jazz Singer is a 1927 American Musical Drama Film Directed by Alan Crosland. The Jazz Singer was the first feature-length movie with spoken dialogue and thought it was neither the first sound on film nor the first film with talking throughout, and its minstrel show plot doesn’t exactly stand up to modern scrutiny, it was one of the most important movies ever made.
A perfect Jazz Age Wave, The Jazz Singer brought together Al Jolson with the revolutionary new Vitaphone technology and a story that formed the bedrock of American myth. In his many Broadway hits, Jolson had always appeared in blackface as an African American trickster, but in The Jazz Singer, Jolson was essentially playing himself.
His story closely parallels that of the film’s Jakie Rabinowitz, who rejects his cantor father and an insular, immigrant culture to achieve show business glory. Although it inaugurated the genre of the Hollywood musical.
The Jazz Singer was essentially a melodrama, with unfailing love between mother and son, reconciliation with a previously unyielding father, and the protagonist’s last-minute decision to give up everything he has spent his life pursuing.
In the various versions of the story on which the film is based, the Jewish jazz singer walks away from certain success on opening night to sing “Kol Nidre” on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. But late in the genesis of the film, a scene was added in which Jakie now known as “Jack Robin” reappears on stage in blackface and sings “My Mammy” while his mother and his blond costar look on adoringly.
He has won stardom and the love of a beautiful gentile woman while inflicting no harm on his doting mother. And at the end, he gives up nothing as he retains a rich connection to his roots in Jewish culture. Like the heroes of so many American movies yet to come, even the Jewish Jack Robin can have it all. Of course, the story was very different for black Americans.
The reason why The Jazz Singer failed to impress when it was first released, because most of the people were seeing a different, silent version of the movie a version which, TIME’s critic in 1927 recognized, wasn’t very interesting.