But most likely remember it or have come to see it for its heavy use of blackface. 2. In some respects, "The Jazz Singer" is daringly forward-looking. As the National Museum of African American History … "The Jazz Singer" (1927) "The Jazz Singer" follows Jakie Rabinowitz (Al Jolson), who rejects his Jewish heritage in order to pursue his dreams of being a popular jazz singer -- in blackface. The practice of blackface continued in the U.S. for several more decades, steadily declining after the 1930s. Bettmann Getty Images. The Jazz Singer is famously noted in film history as the first "talkie" released, Jolson's songs were audible during the film while silent intertitles filled the other parts of the film. The blackface jazz singer is neither a jazz singer nor black. In 1927, he starred in “The Jazz Singer,” the first talking motion picture. Of the more than seventy examples of blackface in early sound film 1927–53 that I have viewed (including the nine blackface appearances Jolson subsequently made), The Jazz Singer is unique in that it is the only film where blackface is central to the narrative development and thematic expression. Showbiz vs. Yom Kippur: Bullen and Flagg Jacob J. Goldberg ‘She’s a … prev next November 30, 2011. The Jazz Singer: Jews, Blackface, America by Michael Feingold. The Jazz Singer does no favor to blacks. Jolson was the premier figure on Broadway, on records and eventually pioneered the era of sound movies with "The Jazz Singer." Then came “The Jazz Singer,” which took blackface to a wider, national audience. But in The Jazz Singer, Jolson uses blackface as nothing more than a theatrical device. The Civil Rights movement and changing attitudes on race helped relegate blackface to the dustbin of history. The 1927 film The Jazz Singer featured singer Al Jolson in blackface. Blackface was such a surefire route to popularity that even black performers started wearing it. These problems, in … Blackface marries ancient rivals in both movies; black and white marry in neither. This story, which matches Jolson's own biography in many respects, tells of a young singer, Jack Robin, forced to decide between applying his talents to the synagogue, where his family had served as cantors for many generations, or to the stage as a popular entertainer. Just as Birth offers a regeneration through violence, so the grinning,Jazz Singer, minstrelsy mask kills blacks with kindness. The Jazz Singer also helped make Jolson the highest-paid entertainer of his day. 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