Blu-ray Review The Jazz Singer (1927) Blu-ray Review

Russell G

Fake Shemp
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2002
Messages
12,058
Location
Deadmonton
Real Name
Russell
I've watched the film a couple of times. It's a corny melodrama for sure, but Jolson is fantastic in it and his songs can't be beat. that said, I doubt I'll be upgrading unless this hits a fantastic sale price. I'm pleased with the presentation of the original DVD set. This Bluray upgrade should of had his other films in the set that are currently MOD only instead of simply repacking the other discs. An HD upgrade of Mammy (restored in the Archives and the disc looks great) and Wonder Bar (needing more work based on the MOD-DVD) would of been an awesome set.
 

JoHud

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2007
Messages
3,215
Real Name
Joe Hudak
moviepas said:
Not quite, depends what you mean by that statement. The Plantation short arrived first.
You're right. Maybe I should have specified "first feature-length film appearance"? Ah, well.
 

Nick*Z

Screenwriter
Joined
Apr 30, 2003
Messages
1,189
Location
Canada
Real Name
NICK
Like most reviewing this creaky melodrama, I don't really find it engaging in any other way, than for its historical significance as an early - part talkie. Jolson is impressive. I love his schtick over the various ''-bergs' his mother will be able to hobnob with once fame and fortune pave the road toward a brighter future. Jolson is quite unique, because his brand of sentiment never quite veers into camp/rank sentimentality. He's better than that and it saves the movie from what someone else pointed out is pretty much 30 minutes of plot stretched into 90 minutes of run time. No one can fault Warner for this Blu-ray, however. Like the DVD that preceded it - it's jam-packed with so much kitsch and coo over the gay old 20s and early 30s that you can't help but get into the mood and the spirit of the whole thing. Nostalgia plus, if you ask me. It would be nice to see Warner go whole hog on a few more pre-Jazz Singer silents on Blu, particularly Eric Von Stroheim's Greed and King Vidor's The Big Parade, and also give us a renewed master for The Broadway Melody, plus its three sequels. Now there's a set I would LOVE to buy!
 

Ronald Epstein

Founder
Owner
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
56,190
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
Just finished watching the Blu-ray a few moments ago...
First time seeing the original version of The Jazz Singer. Have seen the '79
remake with Neil Diamond several times, and it remains one of my favorite films.
So, I suppose my sustained interest in this "creaky melodrama" was due to
my devotion to the remake.
You know, The Jazz Singer is one of the most important pieces of film history
that exists. It's been parodied so many time over that I had come to know "Mammy"
40 years before I finally got to see the original sequence.
Very happy with the overall transfer. Glad MPI was respectful to the original
film grain.
There are some nitpicks, however, that I know I am not qualified to argue with
MPI on their decision not to clean up or fix...
1. When we see young Jakie in the saloon singing, the entire number is out of sync.
I am not certain if it was possible to properly align the original audio to the film.
2. Early on, Jakie writes a letter to his girlfriend about making it big. Halfway
through the writing of the letter, the sequence repeats itself. Uncertain if this was
done intentionally as if he had to write the letter twice, or it was a flub that MPI did
not notice and correct.
I am home sick today and have a slate of films to watch so I won't have time to
dive into the tremendous amount of included extras. I am just rather happy that
I finally got to see this film and that it now is part of my collection.
I now have this craving to watch the 1979 remake. I must restrain myself in hopes
that a Blu-ray release is imminent.
 

Rob_Ray

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2004
Messages
2,060
Location
Southern California
Real Name
Rob Ray
Ronald Epstein said:
1. When we see young Jakie in the saloon singing, the entire number is out of sync. I am not certain if it was possible to properly align the original audio to the film.
That number was never more in sync than it is now. Unlike the Jolson sequences, it was not recorded live on the set. It's basically a silent sequence with someone representing Jakie singing on the Vitaphone soundtrack to enhance the atmosphere of an otherwise silent scene. This happened a lot in the transition to talkies when an otherwise silent film had a musical score on the soundtrack.
 

Stephen_J_H

All Things Film Junkie
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2003
Messages
6,314
Location
North of the 49th
Real Name
Stephen J. Hill
Just picked up for under $20. Having only ever seen it on smeary VHS in a History of Popular Music class in my undergrad days, looking forward to it.
 

Charles Smith

Extremely Talented Member
Supporter
Joined
Jun 27, 2007
Messages
5,754
Location
Nor'east
Real Name
Charles Smith
Fascinated in its historical value, but I don't love it enough to upgrade to the BLU when the DVD box set has to be one of the very greatest Warner ever issued. THAT'S here to stay, and I feel totally safe in this one instance saying I'll enjoy the film itself on upscaled DVD as much as I'm ever going to at all. Now y'all have got me in the mood to watch it.
 

Ignatius

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
71
Location
Wellington, New Zealand
Real Name
Hayden Frost
It is a pity that none of the extras were upgraded to HD (though I understand how it would have been cost-prohibitive) and that no new ones were added. I'll still pick it up at some point though. I love how other films from the era have looked on Blu and I'm not sure I could go back to the DVD knowing that something better was available. If I see it on a half decent sale I'll snap it up.
 

Sky Captain

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 20, 2008
Messages
307
Real Name
Neville Ross
Colin Jacobson said:
It does have story-related potential, but I think it explores those themes poorly.  There's just no depth to any of it.  For instance, the movie tells us of all Jack's conflicts but we never FEEL them - everything's on the surface. Again, it's not a painful viewing, but it's superficial and forgettable, IMO...
I'm betting that the 1979 remake goes into more depth than this movie, then-heck, I'll bet that the SCTV skit (starring Al Jarreau as the main character) is somewhat better. All the same, it is a part of film history, and it is goo to see that it's on Blu-Ray DVD.
 

Colin Jacobson

Lead Actor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2000
Messages
9,955
Originally Posted by Sky Captain
I'm betting that the 1979 remake goes into more depth than this movie, then-heck, I'll bet that the SCTV skit (starring Al Jarreau as the main character) is somewhat better. All the same, it is a part of film history, and it is goo to see that it's on Blu-Ray DVD.
Agree 100% - and it's an outstanding release.
Nice reference to "SCTV"! Though I must admit that's never been one of my favorite segments...
 

Charles Smith

Extremely Talented Member
Supporter
Joined
Jun 27, 2007
Messages
5,754
Location
Nor'east
Real Name
Charles Smith
Anyone familiar with the Jerry Lewis TV version? And the Danny Thomas version? I am remiss in not having yet seen either of them myself.
 

Matt Hough

Director
Reviewer
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
22,033
Location
Charlotte, NC
Real Name
Matt Hough
I haven't seen Lewis' TV version, but I have seen the Danny Thomas remake, and it's not bad. Very old fashioned but it's done with heart and commitment to the story. Isn't it available through the Warner Archive?
 

ahollis

Lead Actor
Premium
Joined
Mar 1, 2007
Messages
7,824
Location
New Orleans
Real Name
Allen
The Danny Thomas version is available from WAC. Not a bad transfer and unique in it's own way. I found it to be a very enjoyable update.
 

Stephen_J_H

All Things Film Junkie
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2003
Messages
6,314
Location
North of the 49th
Real Name
Stephen J. Hill
I only have one issue with the packaging of this title. It is a 1 BD/2 DVD package, and discs 2 and 3 are the same discs from the DVD set (2007 release date on disc and everything). However, in order to put this in a DigiBook, the DVDs are in the stacked configuration familiar to those who own the Muppet Show season sets (offset stack). Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, except that disc 2 has a deep scratch and a scuff on it. I considered returning it, but Walmart's policy is that they will not accept unsealed copies. It plays OK in my computer, but I haven't tried it in my BD player yet. Thoughts? Should I try taking it back to Walmart, or should I contact WB?
 

Guest
On "Intimate Dinner", there is a glitch that almost looks like a video tape glitch where a portion of the bottom of the picture looks to be out of alignment with the rest. Can someone please verify that all copies are like this or if I have a bad disk?
 

jdee28

Screenwriter
Joined
Oct 14, 2006
Messages
1,028
Real Name
John
I saw The Jazz Singer at Film Forum in NY. I bought the DVD set when it first came out but never watched it. The Jazz Singer is just not a good movie. I wish they had included other Jolson films in the release; maybe I would have been more inclined to watch. Too bad the Blu-Ray doesn't either. I thought Al Jolson was at his best in Hallelujah I'm a Bum (1933), a non Warner film. Wonder Bar (1934) is good too.
 

JFKarr

Auditioning
Joined
Jan 15, 2013
Messages
2
Real Name
John Karr
Can anyone confirm whether the Vitaphone shorts on disc 3 have or have not been upgraded to Blu-ray?
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
344,446
Messages
4,710,427
Members
141,271
Latest member
Eddie O. L.