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Monday, August 20, 2012

The Jazz Singer (1959)

A rift between a fifth generation Rabbi (Eduard Franz) and his son (Jerry Lewis) occurs when the son decides to abandon the religious life for show business as a stand up comedian. Very loosely based on the Samuel Raphaelson play which is better known for its 1927 film version with Al Jolson. The story was pretty antiquated even in 1927 and by 1959, the cobwebs were really showing. The director Ralph Nelson (LILIES OF THE FIELD) does his best to move things along and Lewis gives it a game try but his performance seems rushed and not thought out. It's basically a full on dramatic role with the comedy limited to his on stage act. With Anna Maria Alberghetti as the actress who gives Lewis his big break, Molly Picon (FIDDLER ON THE ROOF) as his mother, Alan Reed and Del Moore.

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