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The Jazz Singer
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The Jazz Singer

The Jazz Singer, first released on October 6, 1927 by Warner Bros, is most notable for being the first 'talking motion picture' widely commercially released. It starred Al Jolson in blackface, and it was the first of a series of "talking pictures" starring Jolson; other films in the series included The Singing Fool (1928), Say It With Songs (1929), and Mammy (1930).

In fact, there is only a few minutes' worth of actual singing in 'The Jazz Singer'. Jolson sings the song, "Mammy," twice during the film, with a couple of lines of dialogue. The rest of the film's soundtrack is instrumental musical accompaniment, and the standard caption cards prevalent in silent movies are used instead of recorded dialogue in most of the film. But that one song was enough to capture the imagination of moviegoing audiences of the day.

The movie was a sensational box-office hit, proving to Hollywood (and to the world) that "talking pictures" were profitable. It opened the door to the evolution of sound film, and it signaled the end of the era of the silent film.

Directed by Alan Crosland, the movie also starred May McAvoy and Warner Oland, and in one of her earliest roles, Myrna Loy.

This movie is one of those selected for preservation by the American National Film Registry as culturally significant.

The Jazz Singer has been remade twice. A 1953 remake starred Danny Thomas and Peggy Lee, and a 1980 remake starred Neil Diamond, Lucie Arnaz and Laurence Olivier.