Warner's "The Jazz Singer" restoration

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Brian W., Jun 9, 2003.

  1. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    I found some postings on a music web site I frequent from a man who is part of a group called The Vitaphone Project, whose goal is to collect the shellac soundtrack discs that accompanied the early talkies. Don't know his name, just his handle.

    Anyway, according to him, Warner is working on a restoration of "The Jazz Singer," which we knew, but he did provide some details which are probably credible, given his involvement with The Vitaphone Project:

    - Warner is completely restoring the soundtrack using unplayed Vitapohone discs that still had the paper seals on them.

    - All the musical numbers in the film were originally shot in two-strip color, but these were not used for the release. According to him, Warner has found the color film for the "Mammy" number, and possibly the other numbers, which will be included on the DVD, though he doesn't know if the color footage will be integrated into the film.

    - He says he thinks the DVD will also include a deleted scene from the film that was found in a vault in the Netherlands, and some Al Jolson shorts done prior to "The Jazz Singer."
     
  2. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Wow!

    Are you sure you don't mean the 2-strip sequences for Mammy (the film)?

    I find it hard to believe that Warner Bros. would have filmed part of it in Technicolor given how low-budget they were at the time.
     
  3. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    Well, I'll post the guy's exact comments. Hope these make sense together -- they're culled from several different postings in the thread, some of them in response to questions.

    I hesitate to post an actual link because it's really a music-only web site, and the thread was already hijacked as it was. The subject popped up in response to a question about the lack of Al Jolson on CD.

    But anyone could contact The Vitaphone Project -- they're on the web -- and ask for details.

     
  4. Eric-S

    Eric-S Stunt Coordinator

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    I thought Neil Diamond was just great in that movie[​IMG]
     
  5. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    Sounds interesting. As long as they don't do a 5.1 stereo version of the soundtrack. It's really a terrible film, but it has historic value. Neil Diamond? I thought it was Danny Thomas? [​IMG]
     
  6. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    I think the film is rather good and unfairly maligned. Given the rampant anti-semitism of the time, I find it interesting that such a film was even made so steeped in respectful Judaica. I'll be glad to have it in my collection when it is released. The news of possible 2-strip technicolor elements makes this even more exciting.
     
  7. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    It's not a great film, but as long as Jolson is performing a song, it's wonderful.
     
  8. SteveP

    SteveP Second Unit

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    I second the sentiment that I hope those here don't expect Vitaphone discs to be remastered in 5.1 stereo!
     
  9. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    thanks for the info, sounds fantastic

    [​IMG]
     
  10. TonyDale

    TonyDale Second Unit

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    All of this is well and good, but, until the remaining Jolie films are released on dvd, I'll be hanging onto my THE AL JOLSON COLLECTION laserdisc set. [​IMG]
     
  11. Joel Vardy

    Joel Vardy Supporting Actor

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    I am also looking forward to this classic after having been made aware of the historical value of this film. I have a taped copy of it from a cable broadcast. Last night I attended a film restoration/preservation event in a locally restored theater and the local film preservationist discussed The Jazz Singer and its significance in American Film. He also showed other Vitaphone classics. My interest has been heightened even though Bill Hunt's at the 'bit's' shows The Jazz Singer as one of the AFI titles not under development for DVD [​IMG] .

    Joel
     
  12. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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  13. Robert Dunnill

    Robert Dunnill Second Unit

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  14. Joel Vardy

    Joel Vardy Supporting Actor

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  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Two strip Technicolor dates to 1918.

    By 1927, it was fully perfected.

    Three strip did not come along for another seven years.
     
  16. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    I too being a bit of a Jolson nut would love to see The Jazz Singer on DVD. Glad to hear its being restored and the colour footage sounds fascinating. If only they would through in the colour minstrel sections of the later "Mammy" as an extra ! No solid release date yet but apart from that it at least sounds promising.

    As for the other Jolson movies I think the historical status of The Jazz Singer means the rest will be far behind it if indeed they ever see the light of day on DVD.

    Actually I'm quite surprised Columbia haven't released The Jolson Story and Jolson Sings Again : they went through a few printings on VHS and were huge box office successes in their day. Where are the DVDs ? Jolson is also cursed by some I suppose because of his use of blackface in the politically correct age we live in.

    So us Jolson fans will just have enjoy MGM's disc of Halleluyah I'm a Bum and I believe there's a disc with material cut from Rose of Washington Square which I'll probably add to my collection one of these days.
     
  17. Joel Vardy

    Joel Vardy Supporting Actor

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    Well, close to a year has elapsed and still no word. Anyone heard from Warner on progress and/or projected dates?

    Joel
     
  18. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    No date, but a little more news, per VitaphoneProject.com's Newsletter Volume 6, Number 2:

     
  19. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    I can't wait to see it. After seeing MAMMY at Film Forum, this should be a real treat.

    Going back a few months, JAZZ SINGER was absolutely NOT shot in Technicolor at any rate.

    Now, if only Warners would release THE WONDER BAR...
     

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