The Jazz Singer (1953)

106, 108 or 110 mins | Drama | 14 February 1953

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Producer:

Louis F. Edelman

Cinematographer:

Carl Guthrie

Production Designer:

Leo Kuter

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

This film is a remake of the 1927 Warner Bros.' film The Jazz Singer , which was directed by Alan Crosland and starred Al Jolson, May McAvoy and William Demarest (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ). According to a LAEx item, Warner Bros. first announced plans to remake The Jazz Singer in Dec 1943 with Frank Sinatra as the star. Two years later, executive producer Jack L. Warner announced he had selected actor Dane Clark for the Jolson role. Plans for what became the 1953 version were announced as early as Aug 1949. According to a Jul 1952 HR news item, The Jazz Singer was one of five films requiring outdoor sets that were delayed due to a Warner Bros. studio fire resulting in an estimated $5,000,000 in damages.
       Studio publicity material dated 31 Jul 1952 indicates that Jim Backus was originally slated for the part played by Allyn Joslyn. Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, Aug and Sep 1952 HR news items add Charles Wagenheim, Betty Jane and Anne Lea Ulrich to the cast. According to a contemporary article in LADN , crew members Herbert "Limey" Plews and Ralph Owen worked on both this film and the 1927 version. As the article also noted, film editor Alan Crosland, Jr. was director Crosland's son. Although an Oct 1952 HR news item announced that Max Steiner and Ray Heindorf would collaborate on the score, Steiner is not credited onscreen and Heindorf is credited as music director only. However, both men were nominated for an ... More Less

This film is a remake of the 1927 Warner Bros.' film The Jazz Singer , which was directed by Alan Crosland and starred Al Jolson, May McAvoy and William Demarest (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ). According to a LAEx item, Warner Bros. first announced plans to remake The Jazz Singer in Dec 1943 with Frank Sinatra as the star. Two years later, executive producer Jack L. Warner announced he had selected actor Dane Clark for the Jolson role. Plans for what became the 1953 version were announced as early as Aug 1949. According to a Jul 1952 HR news item, The Jazz Singer was one of five films requiring outdoor sets that were delayed due to a Warner Bros. studio fire resulting in an estimated $5,000,000 in damages.
       Studio publicity material dated 31 Jul 1952 indicates that Jim Backus was originally slated for the part played by Allyn Joslyn. Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, Aug and Sep 1952 HR news items add Charles Wagenheim, Betty Jane and Anne Lea Ulrich to the cast. According to a contemporary article in LADN , crew members Herbert "Limey" Plews and Ralph Owen worked on both this film and the 1927 version. As the article also noted, film editor Alan Crosland, Jr. was director Crosland's son. Although an Oct 1952 HR news item announced that Max Steiner and Ray Heindorf would collaborate on the score, Steiner is not credited onscreen and Heindorf is credited as music director only. However, both men were nominated for an Academy Award for the film in the category of Best Scoring of a Musical Picture. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17 Jan 1953.
---
Daily Variety
29 Aug 1949.
---
Daily Variety
31 Dec 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Jan 53
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 1952
p. 1, 6.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 52
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 1952
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Sep 1952
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 52
p. 23.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 1952
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Dec 53
p. 3.
Los Angeles Daily News
2 Sep 1952.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
27 Dec 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Jan 53
p. 1677.
New York Times
14 Jan 53
p. 27.
Variety
31 Dec 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam tech
Cam asst
Cam asst
Stills
Gaffer
Best boy
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Asst props
COSTUMES
Men's ward
Men's ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
Mus dir
Vocal arr
Mus score
Mus score
DANCE
Mus numbers staged and dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hair dresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Day of Atonement" by Samson Raphaelson in Everybody's Magazine (Jan 1922) and his play The Jazz Singer , as produced by Albert Lewis and Max Gordon, in association with Sam H. Harris (New York, 14 Sep 1925).
SONGS
"Living the Life I Love," "I Hear the Music Now," "What Are New Yorkers Made Of" and "Lu Lulla Lu (Hush-a-Bye)," music and lyrics by Sammy Fain and Jerry Seelen
"Lover," music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
"Just One of Those Things," music and lyrics by Cole Porter
+
SONGS
"Living the Life I Love," "I Hear the Music Now," "What Are New Yorkers Made Of" and "Lu Lulla Lu (Hush-a-Bye)," music and lyrics by Sammy Fain and Jerry Seelen
"Lover," music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
"Just One of Those Things," music and lyrics by Cole Porter
"I'll String Along with You," music and lyrics by Al Dubin and Harry Warren
"The Birth of the Blues," music and lyrics by B. G. DeSylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson
"This Is a Very Special Day," music and lyrics by Peggy Lee
"Kol Nidre," traditional Jewish hymn.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
14 February 1953
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Hollywood: 30 December 1952
New York opening: 13 January 1953
Production Date:
early August--early October 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 February 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2286
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
106, 108 or 110
Length(in feet):
9,595
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16033
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Korean War veteran Jerry Golding returns to his home in Philadelphia in time to celebrate the Jewish New Year with his parents, Ruth and David, and other family members. Jerry's arrival coincides with David's announcement that he will be retiring as cantor at Temple Sinai. Later, at a nightclub, Jerry is reunited with Judy Lane, a U.S.O. singer he met while in Korea, and meets her producer, George Miller. Miller is impressed with Jerry's talents as a performer and offers him a spot in Judy's show, but David, without consulting his son, makes preparations for Jerry to take over as cantor. Jerry painfully breaks the news to his father that he does not want to be a cantor, and then goes to New York to begin rehearsing for the musical show "Top of the Town." The show opens to poor reviews and closes the same day, but critics praise Jerry's performance. Judy is given another assignment by her producer, but Jerry is left in New York without work. A theatrical booking agency books Jerry for one night at a bar in Hoboken, but cannot provide him with steady work. Judy tries to persuade her recording producer, Ray Mullins, to allow Jerry to accompany her on her next record, but he refuses, calling Jerry an "unknown." Jerry, meanwhile, takes a job as a disc jockey, but is soon fired for being the wrong "type." One day, Jerry's uncle Louie visits him and sees that he has fallen on hard times. Louie delivers a prayer book from his father and urges him to return home to Philadelphia for Passover. Jerry makes one more ... +


Korean War veteran Jerry Golding returns to his home in Philadelphia in time to celebrate the Jewish New Year with his parents, Ruth and David, and other family members. Jerry's arrival coincides with David's announcement that he will be retiring as cantor at Temple Sinai. Later, at a nightclub, Jerry is reunited with Judy Lane, a U.S.O. singer he met while in Korea, and meets her producer, George Miller. Miller is impressed with Jerry's talents as a performer and offers him a spot in Judy's show, but David, without consulting his son, makes preparations for Jerry to take over as cantor. Jerry painfully breaks the news to his father that he does not want to be a cantor, and then goes to New York to begin rehearsing for the musical show "Top of the Town." The show opens to poor reviews and closes the same day, but critics praise Jerry's performance. Judy is given another assignment by her producer, but Jerry is left in New York without work. A theatrical booking agency books Jerry for one night at a bar in Hoboken, but cannot provide him with steady work. Judy tries to persuade her recording producer, Ray Mullins, to allow Jerry to accompany her on her next record, but he refuses, calling Jerry an "unknown." Jerry, meanwhile, takes a job as a disc jockey, but is soon fired for being the wrong "type." One day, Jerry's uncle Louie visits him and sees that he has fallen on hard times. Louie delivers a prayer book from his father and urges him to return home to Philadelphia for Passover. Jerry makes one more attempt to break into show business in New York and gets an audition for the lead in Judy's new show. Uncle Louie, who has gone into a partnership with the show's backers, is forced out before things get started, though, and Jerry finds himself back where he began. Dejected, Jerry returns to Philadelphia with Louie, and Judy, who is in love with Jerry, quits the show to join him. Jerry decides to turn his back on show business for good and resume his studies, but Judy returns to New York unconvinced that Jerry truly wants to be a cantor. However, David is overjoyed by his son's decision, and immediately arranges to have him take over the choir. Time passes, and Jerry's increasing unhappiness leads him to leave the congregation. David, furious at his son's decision, strikes Jerry and throws him out of the house. Back in New York, Jerry resumes his romance with Judy and starts his show business career all over again. Jerry soon becomes a big hit and tours the country with his musical and comedy act. Miller later casts Jerry in the lead role of his next show, "Step This Way." Hours before the show is set to open, Jerry gets a telephone call from Louie, who summons him home to be with his ailing father. From his sickbed, David asks Jerry to forgive him for his stubbornness and then gives his son his blessing. To his father's delight, Jerry sings the "Kol Nidre" at the synagogue. David eventually makes a full recovery, and Jerry returns to Broadway and continues his successful rise to stardom with Judy at his side. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.