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Episode 176 - The Jazz Singer: LIVE!


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#21 The_Triple_Lindy

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 06:43 PM

View PostPollyDarton, on 24 November 2017 - 06:31 PM, said:

I would argue that this movie is ultimately not about his rise to be a successful/popular musician at all. That seems to be a foregone conclusion and as it was pointed out on the podcast - there are pretty much zero hurdles to make his "dream" come true. He gives it a small effort and he succeeds because of course he will.
This movie is really about his journey to do a wife upgrade.
Besides bar brawls over blackface, pretty much every obstacle in the movie is about his love life.
Before he goes and after he is in LA, Rivka and his father argue about his leaving and how long he is going to be gone ("A husband should be with his wife!") Then there's the scene where he and Rivka break up and then the scene with his father meeting Molly for the first time.
The biggest - MOST RIDICULOUS - conflict that "sends him to Loredo" is on the surface about his recording session, but is actually him being upset over his dad's reaction to meeting Molly.
Also -Molly is the FIRST WOMAN he meets in LA. He is so desperate to wife swap that he's like "YEP YOU'LL DO."
This is not about his rise to fame - oh no... this is really about a 39 year old man going through a midlife crisis.

These are all great points. And can we please talk about Rivka's completely baffling reaction when Molly tells her she "offered her body" to Jess?

#22 PollyDarton

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 06:44 PM

I need to add - I like to think that Rivka left her life with Jess, changed her name to Patty, and then ran off and joined the circus... which means that The Jazz Singer shares a universe with another film about a meteoric rise to the top: The Jerk. I wonder what Jess's special purpose is?
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Also ALSO - Anyone notice the great John Witherspoon as the MC?!


#23 PollyDarton

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 06:53 PM

View PostThe_Triple_Lindy, on 24 November 2017 - 06:43 PM, said:

These are all great points. And can we please talk about Rivka's completely baffling reaction when Molly tells her she "offered her body" to Jess?


She like laughs, right?! If someone told me that they offered their body to my man...
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#24 Cameron H.

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 06:55 PM

Triple, I'm writing this on a tablet so I can't really quote you point for point, but I get you for the most part. And this is where my not having finished the movie yet really hurts any argument I have. At this point, I've only seen the first night club scene and the show where he opens for the comedian. For the opening act bit, I would guess the band is provided by the promoter. Getting that gig is a big deal because it's a professional show, so I can see that being a house band of some sort. For the nightclub scene, I'm not sure. It could be - because she believed in him so hard - she's paying the band or calling in a favor. They might also be getting a cut of the door. He also made some new friends (e.g. the banjo player during the "just got fired hoedown") and maybe they're willing to play for free. I've certainly filled in for friends before.

As for the packed house, I never got the impression he was headlining. Maybe those people are there to see Christopher Cross or something.

And regarding the "nothing happens in two weeks" line, I didn't take it as the movie "not listening to itself." She already knew two weeks was a ridiculous time frame, but she's like, "Hey, you're here. Instead of packing it in, why not just give it a shot?" After two weeks, she's convinced of his talent and wants him to stay. Since he's feeling defeated - and guilty about his wife and father - she's just trying to convince him to stay just a little longer. Luckily, he gets the call. It's not a huge gig, but enough for him to postpone his departure.

I don't know. This movie just didn't bother me. Diamond is pretty low energy, but I felt that was him a) not being an actor and b ) his character feeling the crush of responsibility. The only place he feels truly untethered is when he's onstage. But that's just my opinion. For all I know, since i haven't finished it, more insanity is to come (I'm not far, but with the holidays, I ran out of time)
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#25 grudlian.

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 07:11 PM

View PostCameron H., on 24 November 2017 - 04:52 PM, said:

As to some of your other points, we know his character has been singing, playing music, and writing songs his entire life. He’s a cantor. That’s literally his 9-5 job. So it’s not like he doesn’t have any talent, he just doesn’t have a support system at home to pursue the type of music he’d like to be playing.

I'm a non-Jewish person who lives in a part of the country with practically no Jewish people. I have no idea what a cantor is apparently. So, what exactly is a cantor? Because I was not picturing literally at all anyone whose 9-5 job is music related. I assumed it was, I don't know, assistant to the rabbi type position.

View PostElektra Boogaloo, on 24 November 2017 - 05:00 PM, said:

Thanks for info on the original, Cam Bert and grudlian. I had never heard of it before I was forced to watch this one.

One thing I should say about the Al Jolson Jazz Singer that, in my opinion, is why it would be largely forgotten is Al Jolson himself.

My understanding (and I'm basing this on reading about him a few months ago when I saw The Jazz Singer, so corrections are welcome) is Al Jolson was HUGELY popular at the time. Like Elvis or Beatles of Michael Jackson type sensation. The problem is once he stopped being popular, he stopped being popular completely and utterly.

One problem is Jolson's particular singing and performing style just didn't age well. The best example I can think of is you know how a band you liked as a kid is embarrassing to listen to now? Even if it's only 10-15 years ago? There's this weird wall of "How did anyone like this?" That's kind of what I think happened to Al Jolson. His style just didn't work after a certain time period. This clip from The Jazz Singer can probably explain why it hasn't aged better than I can put into words:


The other really big reason why Jolson didn't survive in popular culture is blackface. People point out that The Jazz Singer is racist, but the blackface was simply Al Jolson's thing. A documentary of Jolson in 1927 would have featured blackface. So, it's not The Jazz Singer; it's Jolson. While Jolson appears to have been sympathetic in real life to the struggle of black people and was friendly with black people, it's pretty hard to see that in modern times with him performing Mammy or whatever. He supposedly did it in part because he saw similarities between the struggles of Jewish people and black people. While I get that to an extent, at best, it's misguided even at the time.

So, Cam Bert is right that the original has stakes. The narrative of the Jolson version is stronger by a fair amount. I think the Jolson version is much less enjoyable because even with stakes, can you imagine someone's dream being to perform Toot Toot Tootsie? Whereas, no matter what one might think of Neil Diamond's music, he at least resembles something a modern viewer would recognize as a star even if the movie is significantly worse in a narrative sense. And you're both 40! Stand up to your fucking parents about your careers goals or give up!

#26 Cameron H.

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 07:23 PM

View Postgrudlian., on 24 November 2017 - 07:11 PM, said:

I'm a non-Jewish person who lives in a part of the country with practically no Jewish people. I have no idea what a cantor is apparently. So, what exactly is a cantor? Because I was not picturing literally at all anyone whose 9-5 job is music related. I assumed it was, I don't know, assistant to the rabbi type position.


A Cantor would basically be the equivalent of a church's music director. His family has been doing it for (I think) five generations. That dude's whole life is music. He's also the "assistant Cantor" which means he makes essentially nothing (hence him living at home). I imagine it's a fulfilling job if it's your calling, but infinitely frustrating if you're being forced to do it against your will.
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#27 SlidePocket

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 07:24 PM

This film was even nominated for three Golden Globes such as Best Original Song for "Love on the Rocks", Best Supporting Actress for Lucie Arnaz and Best Actor for Neil Diamond! Luckily it didn't win either but it's also one of the first films that help inspired the Razzies to be created. Diamond took home the first ever Worst Actor trophy while Laurence Olivier won the first ever Worst Supporting Actor award.

#28 Blast Hardcheese

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 07:25 PM

View PostElektra Boogaloo, on 24 November 2017 - 01:26 PM, said:

Blast, do you know if the original Jazz Singer was well-received because I thought it was. But then I read your post comparing it to Birth of a Nation and I know that was a huge blockbuster and it was only later that people saw how problematic it was. I guess I thought the original Jazz Singer was still respected with an asterisk?

(Although if it was respected except for the minstrel stuff why make that the one "homage"? Why not do a cover of one that music or have a photo of him somewhere?)

I guess I can't figure out why Diamond didn't just write a new musical if he wrote the songs?

Why did you do this to is, Neil Diamond?


The movie was a tremendous hit for a then-struggling Warner Bros. It really only contains two sections of sound dialogue and music: the famous "You ain't heard anything yet" line, and a scene between Jolson and the actress playing his on-screen mother. When Jolson's voice came over the screen in these two sections, it's reported that audiences were on their feet, applauding.

This was around the time when several studios were experimenting with adapting sound to their films, and outfitting their theaters with costly sound systems, so sound wasn't necessarily a new concept by the time The Jazz Singer was released (The Lumière Brothers first experimented with sound recording technology for film which Thomas Edison soon capitalized on, introducing the concept of syncing film with recorded discs early on, which never took off). But The Jazz Singer was the first film to capitalize on the emerging technology by doing it so dynamically.

But of course there is the use of blackface, which has definitely not aged well and overshadows the achievements in sound this film should otherwise be celebrated for.

#29 The_Triple_Lindy

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 07:30 PM

View PostCameron H., on 24 November 2017 - 06:55 PM, said:

Diamond is pretty low energy, but I felt that was him a) not being an actor and b ) his character feeling the crush of responsibility.

Which begs the question, is it possible that both can be true? In order to portray the weight of crushing responsibility, wouldn't one have to be a good actor?

I had this thought about it earlier ... you know how in pro wrestling, The Undertaker is supposed to be undead, and everybody knows he's not, and nobody is really buying it, but everyone has to play along, so while the Undertaker just stands there, everybody else whimpers and cowers and acts all a-fool? That's the sort of level I think this movie is on. You've got people with real bonafide acting chops ... Lawrence Olivier, the progeny of Arnaz and Ball, and Ernie Freaking Hudson playing off of a guy who is not used to being on screen. So Neil Diamond's totally understating everything while they're all going off the top rope. Lawrence Olivier obviously felt like he had to carry every scene he was in, and Arnaz was hamming it up, too.

#30 tomspanks

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 07:32 PM

Does anybody know which Jewish denomination/religious movement the Rabinovitches belonged to?

#31 grudlian.

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 07:39 PM

View PostCameron H., on 24 November 2017 - 07:23 PM, said:

A Cantor would be basically the equivalent of a church's music director. His family has been doing it for (I think) five generations. That dude's whole life is music. He's also the "assistant Cantor" which means he makes essentially nothing (hence him living at home). I imagine it's a fulfilling job if it's your calling, but infinitely frustrating if you're being forced to do it against your will.

Are cantors common in even small synagogue? Or are these limited mostly to big places?

The churches I went to as a kid were fairly small. A place where the "music director" is anything other than a musically inclined church member volunteering to lead choir practice is alien to me.

#32 tomspanks

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 07:51 PM

View PostThe_Triple_Lindy, on 24 November 2017 - 07:30 PM, said:

...and Arnaz was hamming it up, too.


This reminds me of the ham scene! Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall the gang discussing this on the podcast. Molly serves a dinner of ham, like a cartoonish big ham, for just 2 people and then Neil Diamond and Molly have an entire conversion with only facial expressions. He's all "I can't eat this pork product, I'm Jewish" and Molly's like "whoooooops!" But by this point they've shacked up, right? Are you saying that Neil Diamond didn't know that Molly was cooking an entire ham? I suppose he could've just come home to a ham dinner, but wouldn't he have seen a giant ham in the fridge before this?

I would also like to ask if it's normal to have an enormous ham and then just a side salad of lettuce and cherry tomatoes for dinner? I love ham as much as the next person, but don't people usually serve other side dishes with a ham?

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#33 Cameron H.

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 08:13 PM

View Postgrudlian., on 24 November 2017 - 07:39 PM, said:

Are cantors common in even small synagogue? Or are these limited mostly to big places?

The churches I went to as a kid were fairly small. A place where the "music director" is anything other than a musically inclined church member volunteering to lead choir practice is alien to me.


Ha! That's funny as I've never attended a church that didn't employ a full time music director. All the churches I've been to have been mid-sized, so I assume it would be similar for synagogues. If it's within their budget, and they wish to have one, then they'd have a full time Cantor.

Here's a bit of info I found online from a year ago regarding the shortage of Cantor's in the Atlanta area. It does say that it's unusual not to have a Cantor onstaff, but not totally unheard of. It also gives a little more information regarding the duties of a professional Cantor.

http://atlantajewish...e-cantors-gone/
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#34 Wil Dride

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 09:48 PM

Probably should've been called The "Jazz" Singer. The quotes make all the difference. Just like it should've been The "Karate" Kid for the Kung Fu remake. Or, you know, just not made. Both work.

#35 Elektra Boogaloo

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 09:48 PM

View PostPollyDarton, on 24 November 2017 - 06:31 PM, said:

I would argue that this movie is ultimately not about his rise to be a successful/popular musician at all. That seems to be a foregone conclusion and as it was pointed out on the podcast - there are pretty much zero hurdles to make his "dream" come true. He gives it a small effort and he succeeds because of course he will.
This movie is really about his journey to do a wife upgrade.
Besides bar brawls over blackface, pretty much every obstacle in the movie is about his love life.
Before he goes and after he is in LA, Rivka and his father argue about his leaving and how long he is going to be gone ("A husband should be with his wife!") Then there's the scene where he and Rivka break up and then the scene with his father meeting Molly for the first time.
The biggest - MOST RIDICULOUS - conflict that "sends him to Loredo" is on the surface about his recording session, but is actually him being upset over his dad's reaction to meeting Molly.
Also -Molly is the FIRST WOMAN he meets in LA. He is so desperate to wife swap that he's like "YEP YOU'LL DO."
This is not about his rise to fame - oh no... this is really about a 39 year old man going through a midlife crisis.


This is so true. It doesn't feel like "forbidden" love like the Second Opinion claimed. It was more like he couldn't be bothered to fuck anyone but the most convenient lady.

Also, I know very little about Neil Diamond so I can't contribute to the "is this accurate" debate, but I did Google him when the movie was assigned and saw he did break up with his childhood sweetheart first wife for an assistant who became his second wife. (Not his last.)

Oh this reminds me-can we talk about the baby?

I would love to know what the filmmakers THINK the timeline of this movie is. Because no one acts like Neil Diamond has been away that long when he comes back from Texas. But that baby was, I think, like six months old? (Could definitely hold it's own head up.)

So Molly carried the child for nine months and then raised it along for like six more and she isn't PISSED at all??

Like oh the man is back so I better cater to his whims now. Ugh.

ETA:

Quote

Luckily it didn't win either but it's also one of the first films that help inspired the Razzies to be created. Diamond took home the first ever Worst Actor trophy while Laurence Olivier won the first ever Worst Supporting Actor award.

So that means this came out the same year as CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC? Odd. They are two musical bio pics, I guess, but they seem so different.

Maybe just because Steve Guttenberg expends more energy in the opening roller skate scene than Diamond does the whole movie?

Also should someone who has a Razzie be able to have acting awards named after them? (See: the Olivier)

#36 PollyDarton

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 10:19 PM

View PostElektra Boogaloo, on 24 November 2017 - 09:48 PM, said:

Oh this reminds me-can we talk about the baby?

I would love to know what the filmmakers THINK the timeline of this movie is. Because no one acts like Neil Diamond has been away that long when he comes back from Texas. But that baby was, I think, like six months old? (Could definitely hold it's own head up.)

So Molly carried the child for nine months and then raised it along for like six more and she isn't PISSED at all??

Like oh the man is back so I better cater to his while now. Ugh.

Yes! If that baby is 6 months old (I think it could even be older) then she has just gotten through a whole bunch of HARD SHIT - pregnancy, labor and delivery, the first fragile months, no sleep, etc.- presumably on her own. I would be pissed AF to see that guy waltzing back in now, and all FOR WHAT? Because his musicians weren't up to his ridiculous and sudden inexplicably high standards?? or that he got caught with his extra-marital girlfriend by his dad?? Regardless - neither is an appropriate reason to go all "walk the earth like Caine" on everyone.

#37 tomspanks

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 11:04 PM

View PostElektra Boogaloo, on 24 November 2017 - 09:48 PM, said:

Oh this reminds me-can we talk about the baby?

I would love to know what the filmmakers THINK the timeline of this movie is. Because no one acts like Neil Diamond has been away that long when he comes back from Texas. But that baby was, I think, like six months old? (Could definitely hold it's own head up.)

So Molly carried the child for nine months and then raised it along for like six more and she isn't PISSED at all??

Like oh the man is back so I better cater to his whims now. Ugh.


Speaking of the baby, I feel like Bubba must have been there for Molly during her pregnancy and after the birth of the child. So much that Molly named her baby after Bubba's favorite musician, Charlie Parker. (Or so I imagine)

#38 joshg

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 11:43 PM

View PostCameron H., on 24 November 2017 - 07:23 PM, said:

A Cantor would basically be the equivalent of a church's music director. His family has been doing it for (I think) five generations. That dude's whole life is music. He's also the "assistant Cantor" which means he makes essentially nothing (hence him living at home). I imagine it's a fulfilling job if it's your calling, but infinitely frustrating if you're being forced to do it against your will.


As the long article you linked alludes to, the profession of being a cantor is not what it used to be - most people are cantorial soloists, not fully ordained cantors. These days it probably is more like a music director, who leads the choir (if there is one) and congregation in the different prayers.

A true cantor in the old tradition was a religious leader on par with being a rabbi. But in addition to having complete knowledge of Judaism, you had to be trained to a) have an amazing voice, B) know all the tunes and "trope" (musical symbols and patterns) for each holiday and portion of the service, and c) be able to improvise. The cantor's job was to elevate the congregation's spiritual experience, to actual bring his listeners to a state of ecstasy and closer communion with God.

Of course none of these demands are explored in the movie, because everything just comes easy to Neil Diamond. The higher stakes of the 1927 "The Jazz Singer" are discussed in this thread, but there are also other examples in the "conflicted cantor" genre that sound like they're probably more dramatic than the 1980 film.

The 1937 Yiddish film The Cantor's Son, "marks the screen debut of singer and cantor Moishe Oysher. In his book on Yiddish cinema Bridge of Light, critic J. Hoberman calls The Cantor’s Son an "anti-Jazz Singer," further remarking that the film's story parallels Oysher's own struggle to reconcile his cantorial calling with a career in show business. Like his film character, Oysher, born in Bessarabia the son and grandson of cantors, was both a matinee idol and a celebrated cantor." The conflict revolves around whether Oysher is going to stay in America or return to his European homeland.
http://www.jewishfil.../CantorsSon.htm

Oysher also starred in the 1940 Yiddish film Overture to Glory, in which he plays a character based on the real-life "Cantor from Vilna", Yoel David Loewenstein (1816-1850). Loewenstein was a prodigy whose voice was first noticed when he was only 11, and was then called upon to take over from his father, who died when the boy was only 14. One of the requirements to become a cantor was to be married and have a household; one had to become a Balebes (Yiddish for household owner) or a Balebessl – a small household owner. Since he was a sought-after cantor at such an early age, that meant he had to get married at age fourteen.
Ten years after becoming a cantor, at age 23, he fell in love with opera, and decided to become an opera star (the equivalent of popular secular music back then). Like Neil Diamond and Jess Robin, he fell in love with a gentile woman (a singer and daughter of a Polish aristocrat). As the article below states, "In the mental derangement which followed, he abandoned his musical career, left his wife and children, and became a ‘Baal T’shuva’ (penitant). It was then customary for people who wished to atone for their sins to become wanderers, walking from community to community in silence...Finally, his family traced him, and placed him in an asylum in Warsaw, where he died in 1850, at the tragically early age of thirty-four." In the movie version he collapses and dies on the bimah (podium) as he is singing the Kol Nidre prayer.
https://geoffreyshis...vid-lowenstein/

Since the movie was based on a 1908 play, perhaps the original Jazz Singer film was based loosely on the life of Der Vilner Balebessl?

Anyway, both of these Yiddish versions take a decidedly negative view of American assimilation and decide that the protagonist is either better off back at "home" in the old country, or dead. The 1980 Neil Diamond film gets to have it both ways (American and Jewish), as he sings for a stadium crowd wearing a sparkly suit, complete with a glittery white scarf that acts as a superficial homage to the prayer shawl he wore at the beginning.

A couple more Jewy things:

As the 2nd Opinion reviewer pointed out, that wasn't a Passover seder in the Jess and Molly sex montage; it was Shabbat (the Sabbath). Maybe they were observing the very dubious but popular commandment among Jews: "It's a double mitzvah on Shabbat".

The prayer Diamond sings at the end of the film is Kol Nidre - "All Vows". It is the most serious prayer sung on the holiest night of the Jewish calendar year. On behalf of the congregation, the cantor declares that all vows made in vain are hereby null and void; that way no one will be held to promises they can't keep in the coming new year. This is appropriate for Jess, since he has been making empty vows for the entire movie. "Don't worry, I'll be back in a couple weeks." "It will all be fine."

And for something completely non-Jewy:
Jess gave Molly an ultimatum: ditch the boyfriend in the boat, don't go to Acapulco with Tommy, go out with me.
But Tommy corrects them and reminds Molly that they're just going to Catalina.
So what happens next - Molly goes out for a romantic day trip with Tommy to Catalina, and then dumps him when they get home that night and starts dating Jess then next day? What did Molly say to Jess - "Okay, I choose you, but starting tomorrow??"

#39 Elektra Boogaloo

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Posted 25 November 2017 - 03:00 AM

View PostPollyDarton, on 24 November 2017 - 10:19 PM, said:

Yes! If that baby is 6 months old (I think it could even be older) then she has just gotten through a whole bunch of HARD SHIT - pregnancy, labor and delivery, the first fragile months, no sleep, etc.- presumably on her own. I would be pissed AF to see that guy waltzing back in now, and all FOR WHAT? Because his musicians weren't up to his ridiculous and sudden inexplicably high standards?? or that he got caught with his extra-marital girlfriend by his dad?? Regardless - neither is an appropriate reason to go all "walk the earth like Caine" on everyone.

Also she was his manager so she would have been out of work when he left? How did she survive? I definitely would not have dealt with him on a professional level ever again.

View Posttomspanks, on 24 November 2017 - 11:04 PM, said:


Speaking of the baby, I feel like Bubba must have been there for Molly during her pregnancy and after the birth of the child. So much that Molly named her baby after Bubba's favorite musician, Charlie Parker. (Or so I imagine)

I believe this because Bubba looks out for Jess so much. I think he might just go around saving wayward white people.

How awesome would it be if the baby had been mixed?


View Postjoshg, on 24 November 2017 - 11:43 PM, said:


The 1937 Yiddish film The Cantor's Son, "marks the screen debut of singer and cantor Moishe Oysher. In his book on Yiddish cinema Bridge of Light, critic J. Hoberman calls The Cantor’s Son an "anti-Jazz Singer," further remarking that the film's story parallels Oysher's own struggle to reconcile his cantorial calling with a career in show business. Like his film character, Oysher, born in Bessarabia the son and grandson of cantors, was both a matinee idol and a celebrated cantor." The conflict revolves around whether [font="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"][color="#000000"]Oysher is going to stay in America or return to his European homeland.[/color][/font]
http://www.jewishfil.../CantorsSon.htm

[font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Oysher also starred in the 1940 Yiddish film Overture to Glory, in which he plays a character based on the real-life "Cantor from Vilna", Yoel David Loewenstein (1816-1850). Loewenstein was a prodigy whose voice was first noticed when he was only 11, and was then called upon to take over from his father, who died when the boy was[/font] only 14. [font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]One of the requirements to become a cantor was to be married and have a household; one had to become a Balebes (Yiddish for household owner) or a Balebessl – a small household owner. Since he was a sought-after cantor at such an early age, that meant he had to get married at age fourteen. [/font]
[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]Ten years after becoming a cantor, at age 23, he fell in love with opera, and decided to become an opera star (the equivalent of popular secular music back then). Like Neil Diamond and Jess Robin, he fell in love with a gentile woman (a singer and daughter of a Polish aristocrat). As the article below states, [/font]"[font=facitweb-1, facitweb-2, sans-serif]In the mental derangement which followed, he abandoned his musical career, left his wife and children, and became a ‘Baal T’shuva’ (penitant). It was then customary for people who wished to atone for their sins to become wanderers, walking from community to community in silence[font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]...[/font][/font][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Finally, his family traced him, and placed him in an asylum in Warsaw, where he died in 1850, at the tragically early age of thirty-four." In the movie version he collapses and dies on the bimah (podium) as he is singing the Kol Nidre prayer.[/font]
https://geoffreyshis...vid-lowenstein/

Since the movie was based on a 1908 play, perhaps the original Jazz Singer film was based loosely on the life of Der Vilner Balebessl?

Anyway, both of these Yiddish versions take a decidedly negative view of American assimilation and decide that the protagonist is either better off back at "home" in the old country, or dead. The 1980 Neil Diamond film gets to have it both ways (American and Jewish), as he sings for a stadium crowd wearing a sparkly suit, complete with a glittery white scarf that acts as a superficial homage to the prayer shawl he wore at the beginng


I am relieved to hear people can think of better stories of Jewish identity. Because I worried that maybe Diamond was connected to the Jolson movie (even though it does not hold up) because there was so little portrayals of Jewishness on film.

I mean, we joke about lots of Jews in entertainment but we rarely see movies with Jewish characters.

#40 Cam Bert

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Posted 25 November 2017 - 03:45 AM

View PostElektra Boogaloo, on 24 November 2017 - 09:48 PM, said:

Oh this reminds me-can we talk about the baby?

I would love to know what the filmmakers THINK the timeline of this movie is. Because no one acts like Neil Diamond has been away that long when he comes back from Texas. But that baby was, I think, like six months old? (Could definitely hold it's own head up.)

So Molly carried the child for nine months and then raised it along for like six more and she isn't PISSED at all??

I think I hear my cue...

There was talk about the confusing timeline but it is actually pretty straight forward. So when Neil Diamond leaves New York he's initially headed to LA for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks he gets a call for a gig which is week away, and that gig gets him the opening act which is another week away. So when his wife shows up he has been gone almost exactly a month. They break up that night, and the next day goes and confesses his love to Molly. They start dating and making an album. After three dates, four recording sessions, and a weird dinner they become sexually active. When his father arrives he states that he's been gone three months, which means that Jess and Molly were only dating for two months and sexual active for a month and a half in which she got pregnant. Seemingly the next day he storms off and runs away. After he returns Molly goes to carjack the producer again at which time the producer states Jess's record went gold "a year ago." Clearly they couldn't record anything new after Jess left so mixing, printing, release and sales, say one month after he storms out. That means he was on the road for about 13 months. If we further assume the baby was delivered as expected, by the time he returned that baby would be between 5 1/2 to 7 months old.

So you were dead on!
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(credit to Elektra and Cameron H)