This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Saturday Rave: The Jazz Singer: Samson Raphaelson, Alan Crosland, Warner Brothers

The Jazz Singer was the first full-length film with built-in sound. 

The plot of the film came from a short story by Samson Raphaelson called "The Day of Atonement". The director of the film was Alan Crosland, and the star was Al Jolson.

The Jazz Singer is about forging an identity in a land of immigrants - and also about making it in show business.

The sound element of The Jazz Singer was recorded on discs which had to be synchronised with the film's images. This, by all accounts, required a projectionist with split-second timing and (I should imagine) more than two hands.

Despite this, the premiere of The Jazz Singer on October 6 1927 was a sensation and a great success. Sadly, none of the Warner Brothers (and they really were brothers) were there to see it because, Sam, the most fervent supporter of the film's new Vitaphone sound system, had died of pneumonia the day before.

The first words heard spoken in the film are, famously, 'Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain't heard nothing yet.'

And we hadn't, had we?

The Jazz Singer 1927 Poster.jpg

Word To Use Today: talkie. The word talk was talkien in the 1200s. It's related to the Old English talu, which means tale.

The film was a solid commercial success, even though most cinemas hadn't got sound equipment and so had to show the film in a silent version.

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