AL JOLSON SET???

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Corey, May 7, 2006.

  1. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

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    i saw that they had this o laser disc and i thought that it would be a perfect addition to have on dvd as a set:

    -The Jazz Singer
    -The Singing Fool
    -Say It With Songs
    -Mammy
    -Big Boy
    -Wonder Bar
    -Go Into Your Dance
    -The Singing Kid
     
  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I don't think the laserdisc set sold well at all. I got mine for something like $20 after it had sat untouched in the store for months and months.

    I understand Warners is working on THE JAZZ SINGER for release, but if Disney is picky about releasing SONG OF THE SOUTH, I'll bet Warner will shy away from Al in blackface for the entire movie playing an African-American in BIG BOY. So ironic in these PC times, too, because it's entertaining.
     
  3. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

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    thats too bad. well hopefully down the line, we at least get wonder bar. i guess al jolson in blackface would be a hard sell [​IMG]. i've heard the 80th edition of the jazz singer will be packaged with a vitaphone material boxed set. that sounds awesome!!!
     
  4. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    Seeing as WB just did a new transfer of THE JAZZ SINGER (which aired recently on TCM), I've got faith that they're at least going to put a new edition of that one out. Picture looks beautiful, but the only downside is that the audio transfer is still from the optical, not disc tracks.
     
  5. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    The audio on those early sound films of Jolson's in the laserdisc set is really primitive: hissy, full of pops and sometimes out of sync with the picture (THE SINGING FOOL is really bad). Still, for collectors, well worth having.
     
  6. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Warners has recently cut Jolson material from both the Busby Berkeley bonus disc (Wonder Bar number) and perhaps from the Shorts documentary that was part of the L&H set (I heard the latter second hand so it may not be true) so it appears that they are a bit skittish about putting Al in the marketplace.

    On the other hand a dedicated Jolson box set would be an ideal opportunity to group it all together along with some material explaining the sensitive material included.

    I've been watching some of TCM's Race and Hollywood series this month and it has been fascinating viewing from a historical perspective as much as a filmwatching perspective.

    From what I've read of Jolson he was a fantastic live performer whose movies perhaps didn't do justice to his talents. George Burns, whose life spanned the 20th century, cited Jolson and Sammy Davis as the two best all around entertainers he ever saw.
     
  7. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

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    I WB could still release his movies if they had commentary and introductions to the sensitive material like how they have on TCM this month, if they had Donald Bogle and people like that. It's such a tricky thing this "race" issue in Hollywood from back then. I know a lot of white performers portrayed Asians in movies back then, but it was usually in a dramatic tone and not as a comedy like how blackface was. I guess for some blacks, watching Al Jolson would be very uncomfortable just like how some of those Looney Tunes portraying the Japanese during World War 2 would be. I as a black person, do not take these things so seriously. These were things that happened 65,70,80 years ago. I like watching the depictions of mammy, uncles, and those blackface performances because some of it is actually funny of how ignorant Hollywood was back then. Why trip on a movie made years and years and years ago. WB could easily get the NAACP to help them figure out a way in a way how to release these movies in tasteful way where no would get offended. I think the NAACP would deeply appreciate the gesture on WB's part to want to get their input.
     
  8. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    I was very impressed with a comment that Donald Bogle made on TCM the other night. It is very obvious he doesn't care for these "race" movies, but when Robert Osborne asked him if he thought the movies should be shelved and forgotten, Mr. Bogle said "no", they should be available for people to view and perhaps learn from. Not all activist groups are this open minded and he deserves credit for his willingness to partake in this discussion.

    This project sounds like it could be a candidate for the TCM Archives brand.
     
  9. Corey

    Corey Screenwriter

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    i guess we'll just have to see how the jazz singer does when it's released next year. if it's a hit, then we might see more of jolson. if it flops, then we probably won't. so just cross your fingers
     
  10. Drew Salzan

    Drew Salzan Second Unit

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    According to the Vitaphone Project, a pristine and complete set of discs were indeed located and plans were to utilize them for The Jazz Singer restoration. It's a shame that they would use the optical tracks that were created in the 1930's from the discs. Ironically, despite the synchronization and editing limitations of Vitaphone, it was a superior system fidelity-wise compared to sound-on-film of the 1920's and early 1930's. Are you sure that the optical tracks are being used?
     
  11. Art_AD

    Art_AD Stunt Coordinator

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    I also think that a version of the 1930 film Mammy now has restored color sequences
     
  12. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    Drew, quite sure.
     
  13. andySu

    andySu Cinematographer

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    It was, “The Jazz Singer” 1927, that introduce sound to the public, with a device know as the “Vitaphone” and via a single JBL loudspeaker, placed behind the screen.

    “You ain’t heard anything yet!”
     
  14. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I have never watched this film from the laserdisc boxed set, and I'm going to rectify that today, if possible. I don't think the color sequence was restored for the film in this box, but after reading about the film in more detail this morning, I want to see it now.
     

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