Cinema: Cantor's Cant

THE JAZZ SINGER

Directed by Richard Fleischer

Screenplay by Herbert Baker

Everybody just loves Neil Diamond.

Black folks cheer his music; rednecks stomp and holler. He's a pop sensation, from The Bronx to the Hollywood Bowl, and a wonderful human being to boot. So where's the dramatic tension? It comes from an unlikely source: the 1925 Samson Raphaelson play and the Al Jolson movie version that ushered in the talkies. There is no Mammy in the new Jazz Singer; there's not even a momma. But the plot is the same: a young Orthodox cantor wants to become a singing star, straining...

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