A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Jazz Singer -- in Vitaphone audio

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 9, 2007.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I'm very tempted to preface the title of The Jazz Singer with the words "A George Feltenstein Production."

    This newly minted DVD boxed set is a monolithic affair.

    The centerpiece is, of course, the 1927 Warner production starring Al Jolson, that introduced sound to the moviegoing masses via a double system of a projector synchronized with a large format turntable. The discs themselves are fashioned after the Vitaphone discs.

    With whites aglow, which always made me think of this as a late orthochromatic production -- whether it is or is not, I'm not certain, The Jazz Singer has never looked more sumptuous.

    But in typical Feltensteinian methodology, that isn't what this boxed set is about, as the centerpiece is an 89 minute black & white production offered in standard definition and no multi-track offerings to take up space.

    What this set brings to the table is a bit of Jolson, combined with a huge series of Vitagraph short films, some previously available as part of the Vitagraph laser boxed set, while a third disc gives us multiple documentaries regarding sound and the history of sound at WB, as seen over the past decades.

    For the aficionado of the early sound film, The Jazz Singer boxed set is the "stuff that dreams are made of."

    The Jazz Singer is Extremely Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Mr. Harris, after a trying day, you've made my night! Nice to see this get the approval. I was excited when this was announced mainly cause I always kinda enjoyed "The Jazz Singer". When they announced all those shorts and the documentary, my jaw dropped. I've had this on pre-order since it was available to do so, much like the "Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland" collection which just arrived and I am yet to dip in to. [​IMG]

    Curious to get your opinion on the sound, it was my understanding that Warner got their hands on un-played Vitaphone discs for the feature.
     
  3. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Thanks for RAH's comments. I'm currently working my way through the Rooney/Garland collection which is a contender for the collection of the year, but it sounds like THE JAZZ SINGER collection may supplant it.

    I'm very anxious to get this collection. The great majority of these shorts will be new to me and it will be a wonderful learning experience going through them as well as the documentaries. One of the great joys of being a classic film fan is learning about the history of the films and the studios who made them.

    I'm also interested in reading thoughts on the sound and am also with the understanding that original mint discs were used. There was a report in the silent movies newsgroup about a possible sound anomolies. Quoting from the post from "Gerbonzo":


    This poster does state that he viewed an advance copy so perhaps this was not the final version. In any case, minor quibbles aside this looks to be a 5 star release that I look forward to adding to my collection with hopes that sales will warrant more Vitaphone era releases.

    Steve
     
  4. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    Mr. Harris, it's Vitaphone- Vitagraph was an early studio in NYC, and WB's sound system got its name because it was based at the old Vitagraph studios.
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    To Mr. Ellis,

    I caught this shortly after I pressed the submit button, and it was corrected early this morning. Thank you, however, for you annotation.

    I originally typed Vitagraph, as it was also the Warner storage facility in Brooklyn, NY.

    RAH
     
  6. Richard Matich

    Richard Matich Stunt Coordinator

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    LOL. I might not have even noticed the mistake. I want to thank Mr. Harris again for his take on what is sure to be an A+ Warner/Feltenstein production. I will be getting this when its released on the 16th. [​IMG]
     
  7. Corey3rd

    Corey3rd Screenwriter

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    This shall be going onto my Ray Regis Memorial shelf.
     
  8. Tory

    Tory -The Snappy Sneezer- -Red Huck-

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    If Warner does a replacement, they should include the Rogue Song as well so people won't lose anything.
     
  9. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    I'm glad I ordered it.
    I mean I was very glad to being able to order this set when I did, but now I even more happy. [​IMG]

    Thanks, Robert Harris for this piece of info - and thanks, George Feltenstein / Warner Bros. for this product!


    Cees
     
  10. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    So what should the "Finale" of Gold Diggers look like? Since my review copy has a ballet, I assume that's the goofed-up "Rogue Song", but I want to be sure...
     
  11. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Tip Toe was the intended clip.

    RAH
     
  12. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yep, we need to be careful that just because some information is posted on the internet on some newsgroup, it doesn't necessary mean it's correct information.





    Crawdaddy
     
  13. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    When I hit "Tip Toe..." it plays a long stage production number that doesn't sound like it's that song (assuming this movie's "Tip Toe..." is the same as the one Tiny Tim did). When I hit "Finale" it goes to a ballet number.

    It's my guess that "Tip Toe" is actually "Finale" mislabeled and "Finale" is the Rogue Song ballet. Sound right?
     
  14. CameronMcC

    CameronMcC Second Unit

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    i was asking for a review, and it was right under my nose...can't wait until Tuesday
     
  15. Richard Matich

    Richard Matich Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the Jazz Singer on pre order and its just shipped!! [​IMG] I hope to get it in the next few days. Anyone else have it yet and can comment on the print, the doc, and the supliments?
     
  16. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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  17. Richard Matich

    Richard Matich Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for that link. I found it very informative. Cheers! [​IMG]
     
  18. CineKarine

    CineKarine Supporting Actor

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  19. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    Having seen the film and a handful of Vitaphone shorts last night on TCM (for the very first time, btw), I have to say I think the film is a bit better than some give it credit for. It's the wealth of bonus material that really makes the set, and George Feltenstein and company absolutely deserve kudos for their work on one of WB's landmark productions. I really have to wait on this set because I have other priority DVD (and film) investments that I am watching out for.
     
  20. Art_AD

    Art_AD Stunt Coordinator

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    This is one release that I was more interested in the extra's more than the film (though I like the film) an they do not dissapoint, they are GREAT. In watching the documentary it was great to see Anita Page (although it was an archival interview). I would love to see that entire interview one day as she is one of the few surviving silent / early stars sound from a major studio who is still around. Also listening to Leatrice Fountain (who looks great but is not getting any younger) I hope they do a box set of her father's films so she can be involved he REALLY deserves one.
     

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