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The Jazz Singer [DVD] [1981]


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2 new from £49.95 4 used from £19.99

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Product details

  • Actors: Laurence Olivier, Neil Diamond, Lucie Arnaz, Catlin Adams, Franklyn Ajaye
  • Directors: Richard Fleischer
  • Writers: Herbert Baker, Samson Raphaelson, Stephen H. Foreman
  • Producers: Jerry Leider, Joel Morwood, Martin Wiviott
  • Format: PAL, Colour, Anamorphic, Widescreen, HiFi Sound
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Maori
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Warner
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Oct 2006
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001ACJMQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,122 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

This re-make of the 1927 pioneering 'talkie' of the same name stars Neil Diamond as the Rabbi's son who wants to be a pop singer. This runs counter to his father's (Laurence Olivier) wishes, who had hoped he would follow in his footsteps as Cantor in the Synagogue. A struggle between familial responsibility and religious duty thus ensues.

From Amazon.co.uk

Back in 1927, The Jazz Singer entered the history books as the first true, sound-on-film talking picture, with Al Jolson uttering the immortal words, "You ain't heard nothing yet!" But even then it was a creakingly sentimental old yarn. By the time this second remake showed up in 1980 (there was a previous one in 1953) it looked as ludicrously dated as a chaperone in a strip club. Our young hero, played by pop singer Neil Diamond in a doomed bid for movie stardom, is the latest in a long line of Jewish cantors, but secretly moonlights with a Harlem soul group. When his strictly Orthodox father (Laurence Olivier, complete with painfully hammy "oya-veh" accent) finds out, the expected ructions follow. Though the lad makes it big in showbiz, it all means nothing while he's cut off from family and roots. But in the end--well, you can guess, can't you? Diamond comes across as likeable enough in a bland way, but unencumbered by acting talent, and the music business has never looked so squeaky clean--nary a trace of drugs, and precious little sex or rock 'n' roll. As for anything sounding remotely like jazz, forget it. This is one story that should have been left to slumber in the archives. --Philip Kemp

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Feb 2005
Format: DVD
The Jazz Singer takes the wonderfull music of Niel Diamond and puts it to a very good script. I remember watching this when i was a kid and i have been a fan of niel diamond since. I got this recently and showed my wife it who had never seen it and wasnt a fan of niel diamond, guess what? she is now a fan of niel diamond and so is my 12 year old daughter who has watched the movie 4 or 5 times since i got it. Get it I gaurantee you will enjoy it.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Eamon McGrane on 20 April 2004
Format: DVD
I bought the Jazz Singer DVD in Dublin a few days ago it's a hoary old cult classic with a very naturalistic performance from Neil Diamond in the title role coupled with some cracking tunes. I was also happy to note that it was riding high in the Top 30…great stuff for a movie almost 25 years old that wasn’t a commercial success on its initial release. But I have to say that the presentation is an ABSOLUTE DISGRACE. Warner brothers and their various associates have done NO justice to this film.
What they’ve done is basically transfer the master onto DVD. The sound and picture have not been improved indeed I’d think it fair to say that a recent VHS copy would be of equal quality. What’s the point of releasing a film on DVD by merely transferring the source tape? The Jazz Singer BADLY needs to be remastered for picture and sound. The picture quality is very poor IMHO and the sound could do with a polish. A little bit of effort to include a booklet would’ve been nice with chapter selections and so forth. How about some extras such as brief interviews with Neil AND Lucy Arnaz (and any of the other participants) about the film. How about outtakes? Warner Bros have a poor record on this but this takes the biscuit!
I think a glorious chance was missed here. Considering the amount of money the film is going to procure WB and Studio Canal and the cult following it has this product is a thundering disgrace!
3 stars for the film 1 for the packaging and presentation.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By "richienmargie" on 26 Mar 2004
Format: DVD
Anyone reading this page will no doubt already have their own opinion on 'The Jazz Singer'. Neil Diamond's remake of the classic Al Jolson Movie hits all the right buttons with great songs written and performed by Neil Diamond, an uplifting story of a Jewish cantor breaking into the world of popular music and, in my opinion, an amusingly over-the-top performance by Laurence Olivier. The film itself cannot fail to entertain and demands repeat viewings. This is why, as soon as I heard of it's release on DVD I pre-ordered straight away to replace my old VHS copy. The DVD itself is a total let-down. The picture quality, although now in widescreen, is no better, and perhaps even worse, than the VHS version. The grainy, fuzzy picture has to be the worst I have ever come across on DVD and certainly looks as if this has been mastered straight from the video with no clean-up work whatsoever. The sound quality is also substandard and there are no extra features to be found at all. Being one of my favourtite movies, I was hoping I would be able to give this DVD five stars - the poor DVD production, however has dragged this kicking and screaming down to a three!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By LXIX TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Nov 2007
Format: DVD
This is a classic movie with a great soundtrack. Neil Diamond's performance carries the film and storyline. It's also an interesting tale of a clash of cultures and someone who is torn in two directions - i.e. the traditional Jewish cantor who is also a rock/pop star in waiting. Beyond the mainstream music there are several interesting performances of traditional Jewish songs including Hava Nagilah (which doesn't feature on the accompanying soundtrack).

The personal theme of Judaism is not forgotten, and there is even a short lovely scene of Jess teaching his new partner the particular role of a Jewish woman in lighting candles.

Beyond the mix of family feuding and great music, the old themes of 'go west and enjoy' and 'overnight success for the little guy' are also to be found here.

Overall, a compelling two hours and one for the DVD collection. Neil Diamond is a supremely skilled songwriter with a distinctive voice. Not to be missed.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L. Wilson on 9 Aug 2007
Format: DVD
A fantastic film that will make you laugh, cry and sing. The story of a Jewish cantor that leaves the synagogue to make it in the commercial music world, going against his wife's and fathers wishes he does eventually make it.
The music is typical Neil Diamond and is superb throughout with "love on the rocks" being the best.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By N. L. Esq on 28 Oct 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I own a VHS copy of this film and can honestly say the videocassette has a clearer picture and better sound (on the HiFi tracks) than this DVD. I would not be surprised to find the DVD to be an unofficial (and poorly executed) copy off an old VHS cassette.

Most disappointing.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By trebor on 29 July 2010
Format: DVD
I bought this for my mum's birthday, had a job finding it before this. Good copy, good album - even I like Neil too )
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By lee.sara@talk21.com on 20 Feb 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Neil Diamond is a gifted songwriter who broke into performing in the late 60's. In this film one would expect his acting ability to be dwarfed by Laurence Olivier - it is not. Diamond gives a fantastic performance bringing depth and soul to the characted. Some of the songs are legendry: Love on the rocks, America and the wonderful Hello Again. The ending is very american and very sentimental, but the film is powerful, the scene towards the end of the film in the Jewish temple is incredible.
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