THE JAZZ SINGER 3-Disc Blu-Ray to Launch Warner Bro.'s 90th Anniversary, 1/8/13
The Jazz Singer, the first feature-length film with completely synchronized dialogue and musical sequences, will mark another milestone January 8 when Warner Home Video (WHV) releases the Blu-ray™ commencing the 2013 year-long 90thAnniversary of Warner Bros. Studios. The landmark film, which brought Broadway superstar Al Jolson "alive" and seemingly singing from the screen, was an immediate sensation when it opened in 1927 and created a revolution in the history of the motion picture industry. It earned Alfred Cohn an Academy Award®* (1927/28) nomination for Best Writing (Adaptation) and Warner Bros. received an Oscar® as a Special Award -- for producing The Jazz Singer, the pioneer outstanding talking picture, which revolutionized the industry. In 1996 the film was selected for preservation in the U.S. Library of Congress's National Film Registry for its cultural and historical significance.
Special features include the full-length documentary feature, The Dawn of Sound: How Movies Learned to Talk. The 93-minute film covers the 30+ year struggle to successfully unite sound and image on motion picture screens. The fascinating narrative of failures and triumphs is propelled by insights from notable film historians as well as interviews from many talents who reveal their personal experiences of this tumultuous period in film history.
A separate disc includes more than four hours of extraordinary Vitaphone shorts (see more detail below), unique and historic rarities that capture performances from the era's great entertainment legends: Burns & Allen, Baby Rose Marie, Weber & Fields, Blossom Seeley and Benny Fields and many others.
The Jazz Singer will now be offered in an extra premium 3-Disc Blu-ray book format showcasing the feature on Blu-ray for the very first time. The book also includes 90 pages of all of the reproductions, photos and content only previously available in the original 3-Disc DVD Deluxe Edition such as behind-the-scenes collector's cards, lobby cards, souvenir program, a booklet with reproductions of vintage documents and post premiere telegram from Al Jolson.
Special features include a commentary from film historians Ron Hutchinson (founder of The Vitaphone Project) and Vince Giordano, a selection of vintage shorts and cartoons, a 1947 radio show adaptation featuring Jolson, and more. The Jazz Singer Blu-ray Book will be available for $35.99 SRP. Order due date is December 4.
The Jazz Singer stars entertainment legend Al Jolson in a story that bore a few similarities to his own life story. Jolson portrays a would-be entertainer whose show business aspirations conflict with the values of his cantor father (Warner Oland). The Jazz Singer began life as a 1925 Broadway play, and was revived early in 1927, starring George Jessel. The part was offered to Jolson, who was then at the height of his popularity.
Jolson had broken new ground on the stage and sold millions of phonograph records. Just his name on the marquee of a Broadway theater, or on a piece of sheet music, almost always guaranteed success. He found the challenge of conquering the screen via the new Vitaphone technology irresistible.
The movie premiered at the Warner Theater in New York City on October 6, 1927 and soon became a national phenomenon, limited only by the relatively small amount of theaters (200) which were already equipped with Vitaphone's sound-on-disc technology (a process developed by Western Electric and Warner Bros. wherein a 16" disc was synchronized with standard 35mm projection equipment). The film was a smash everywhere it played, and led to the installation of sound equipment all over the nation. Less than 2 years later, nearly 8000 theaters were wired for sound. Fueled by Jolson's charisma and Vitaphone, The Jazz Singer created the momentum for "talking pictures" that couldn't be stopped. Silent films would soon become virtually extinct.
Directed by Alan Crosland, the film co-stars Warner Oland, May McAvoy, and Eugenie Besserer. Among the hit songs featured in the film are Jolson's trademarks, "Toot-Toot-Tootsie, Goodbye," "Dirty Hands, Dirty Face," "My Mammy," and a then-new song composed by Irving Berlin …"Blue Skies."
More On: Al Jolson, Rose Marie, Weber & Fields, Blossom Seeley, Benny Fields, Ron Hutchinson, Vince Giordano, Warner Oland.