- Rated: PG
- Run Time: 1 hours, 56 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: December 1, 2009
- Originally Released: 1980
- Label: Starz / Anchor Bay
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Note: Audio Commentary with Producer Jerry Leider
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spot
- Poster & Still Gallery
- Neil Diamond Bio
- Laurence Olivier Bio
- Richard Fleischer Bio
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Memorable Quotes and Dialog:
"It's not tough enough being a Jew'"
- Cantor Rabinowitz (Laurence Olivier) to Jess (Neil Diamond), on discoverining that Jess is singing in black face with a soul group
"Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain't heard nothin' yet!"
In New York City, Yussel Rabinowitz (Neil Diamond) trains to be a cantor. Although his father (Laurence Olivier) and wife, Rivka (Catlin Adams), don't approve, he also sings and writes songs for a black soul group under the name Jess Robin. When the group gets an opportunity in California, their leader, Bubba (Franklyn Ajaye), asks Jess to join them. Reluctantly, Rivka and his father let him go. In Los Angeles, Jess meets record company executive Molly Bell (Lucie Arnaz). Impressed by his music, she tries to promote him. However, Jess still struggles and is about to give up when Molly gets him a solo TV spot. Just as Jess seems set for stardom, Rivka and his father arrive to plead for his return.
Samson Raphaelson's play about a talented singer's attempts to break away from a restrictive religious family was first filmed in 1927--when it became the first talkie. This--the third version--was made in 1980. Directed by Richard Fleischer after another director was dismissed, the film focuses on Molly's struggles to find opportunities for Jess, then on Jess's subsequent concert performances. Neil Diamond carries the film, singing his own songs with verve.
Neil Diamond made his acting debut in the third screen version of this story about a cantor's son who risks his family's love when he gives up religious singing to become a pop star.
Family Interaction |
- THE JAZZ SINGER features the film debut of pop singer-songwriter Neil Diamond.
- The concert sequences of the film were shot in the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles.
- The film went into production with Sidney J. Furie as director, but halfway through he was replaced by Richard Fleischer.
- The original 1927 version of THE JAZZ SINGER focused on the relationship between the young man and his mother; in this version, the role of the mother has been replaced by a traditional, religious wife.
- At a stop in St. Paul, Minnesota, during his 1979 concert tour, Neil Diamond asked the crowd if he should go ahead with plans to star in a new version of THE JAZZ SINGER. His audience resonded with enthusiastic applause, though it is likely that only a handful of them had seen either the original 1927 Jolson vehicle or the 1952 version directed by Michael Curtiz.
- In none of the three versions of THE JAZZ SINGER is the hero actually a jazz singer.