The Jazz Singer

Film by Alan Crosland

The Jazz Singer (1927) is an American musical film. The first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue sequences, its release heralded the commercial ascendance of the "talkies" and the decline of the silent film era. Produced by Warner Bros. with its Vitaphone sound-on-disc system, the movie stars Al Jolson, who performs six songs. Directed by Alan Crosland, it is based on a play by Samson Raphaelson.

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  • One actress whose career should have been destroyed by sound was Marion Davies, whose difficulty was revealed in an offhand remark to a studio publicity man at a screening of The Jazz Singer: "M-m-m-m-m-Mister Voigt, I-I-I-I have a p-p-problem." Luckily, Davies' stutter vanished when she spoke memorized dialogue, so her career was able to continue, although only by grace of her alliance with William Randolph Hearst. (Of Davies' eleven MGM talkies, precisely three made money, and piddling amounts like $18,000 and $20,000 at that.)

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