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Blu-ray Review: Glorious Package For ‘The Jazz Singer’

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CHICAGO – “The Jazz Singer” has become something of a hot-button drama over the years due to its use of black face. The new, three-disc Warner Bros. Blu-ray release for the historic film doesn’t shy away from this aspect of the movie but does an amazing service to film fans by placing the work in the context of when it was released. With a stellar documentary about how sound came into the medium (“The Jazz Singer” was the first talky) along with 4 hours of shorts from the day, it’s much easier to appreciate this film for the important chapter it represents in the history of the form.

HollywoodChicago.com Television Rating: 5.0/5.0
Television Rating: 5.0/5.0

Is “The Jazz Singer” a great movie? It’s certainly a better movie than I remembered and the perfectly balanced transfer from Warner Bros. certainly helps make the film feel less like a history lesson than you might expect. It’s possible to actually imagine what it must have been like to hear synchronized audio for the first time. But the true genius of this release is in how its producers recreate not just “The Jazz Singer” but offer a glimpse into the entire period of film. There are hours of short films, many of which were thought lost to history and are available here for the first time. The Blu-ray release of “The Jazz Singer” isn’t just a standard remaster of a classic film. It’s a portal into a different time period. It’s only January but this will be one of the best Blu-ray releases of 2013.

The Jazz Singer was released on Blu-ray on January 8, 2013
The Jazz Singer was released on Blu-ray on January 8, 2013
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Synopsis:
When The Jazz Singer was released in theaters, the future of Hollywood changed. For the first time in a feature film, an actor spoke on screen, stunning audiences and leaving the silent era behind. Al Jolson was the history-making actor, playing the son of a Jewish cantor who must defy his rabbi father in order to pursue his dream of being in show business. Now remastered and restored for hi-def and presented with a massive Blu-ray book, the whole story can be seen (and heard) here. It’s more than just history - it’s pure entertainment!

Special Features:
o Commentary By Film Historian Ron Hutchinson and Bandleader Vince Giordano
o Rare Cartoon And Collection Of Shorts: I Love To Singa, Hollywood Handicap, A Day At Santa Anita, Al Jolson in A Plantation Act
o An Intimate Dinner In celebration Of Warner Bros.’ Silver Jubilee
1947 Lux Radio Theatre Broadcast Starring Al Jolson (Audio Only)
o Theatrical Trailer
o Feature Length Documentary The Dawn Of Sound: How Movies Learned To Talk
o Surviving Sound Excerpts From 1929’s Gold Diggers Of Broadway
o Studio Shorts Celebrating The Early Sound Era: The Voice From The Screen, Finding His Voice, The Voice That Thrilled The World, Okay For Sound, When Talkies Were Young
o Vitaphone Shorts

“The Jazz Singer” was released on Blu-ray on January 8, 2013.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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