The Info List - The Singing Fool

The Singing Fool
The Singing Fool
is a 1928 musical drama Part-Talkie motion picture which was released by Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
The film stars Al Jolson
Al Jolson
and is a follow-up to his previous film, The Jazz Singer. It is credited with helping to cement the popularity of both sound and the musical genre.


1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production 4 Reception 5 Songs 6 Deleted scenes 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Plot[edit] After years of hopeful struggle, Al Stone (Jolson) is on his way. "I'm Sittin' on Top of the World", he sings to an appreciative speakeasy crowd. But, as Al discovers, getting there is one thing. Staying there is another. Singing waiter Stone gets his huge break on a magical night when his song wows a big-time producer and a gold-digging showgirl he fancies. Broadway success and marriage follow, but sure enough, hard times are on the way. Al's fickle wife abandons him, taking the beloved son he calls Sonny Boy with her. Heartbroken, Al becomes a devastated loner until friends from the speakeasy that launched his career rescue him from a life on the streets. Soon, Al is back in lights. But another crisis awaits: Sonny Boy is in the hospital and dying. Cast[edit]

Al Jolson
Al Jolson
as Al Stone Betty Bronson
Betty Bronson
as Grace Josephine Dunn
Josephine Dunn
as Molly Winton Arthur Housman
Arthur Housman
as Blackie Joe Reed Howes
Reed Howes
as John Perry Davey Lee
Davey Lee
as Sonny Boy Edward Martindel as Louis Marcus Robert Emmett O'Connor
Robert Emmett O'Connor
as Bill, cafe owner Helen Lynch
Helen Lynch
as Maid Agnes Franey as "Balloon" girl The Yacht Club Boys as Singing quartet

Production[edit] Like The Jazz Singer, The Singing Fool
The Singing Fool
was a melodrama with musical interludes, and as such was one of the film industry's first musical films. Produced during the transition period between silent film and talkies, the movie was released in both sound and silent versions. The Singing Fool
The Singing Fool
was a part-talking feature, which featured a synchronized musical score with sound effects along with synchronized musical and talking sequences, although in this film roughly 66 minutes of talking and singing were included.[3] Al Jolson's first all-talking feature, Say It With Songs, would appear in 1929. Reception[edit] The Singing Fool
The Singing Fool
solidified Jolson's position atop the movie world; not until Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would any sound era film be more financially successful than this audience-pleasing blend of sentiment and show biz. With a worldwide gross of $5.9 million, it would remain the most successful film in Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
history until the release of Sergeant York in 1941.[3] For the majority of movie audiences, The Singing Fool
The Singing Fool
became their first experience with a talking film, since few movie theaters had been equipped with a sound system in 1927. The film's positive reception was also viewed as a signifier that sound films were here to stay. "Here is complete vindication for the advocates of sound pictures", wrote Film
Daily. " The Singing Fool
The Singing Fool
is the finest example of sound pictures made to date."[5] Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times wrote that the dialogue was "a little halting" and that Dunn was "not convincing", but recognized that the main point of interest in the film was "not in its transparent narrative, but in Mr. Jolson's inimitable singing", and on that basis it was "capital entertainment."[6] John Mosher of The New Yorker
The New Yorker
also recommended the film, writing, "Fortunately, throughout this picture one has Al Jolson's own songs to listen to, for the story has been contrived to exploit to the full his special talents. Whenever the action begins to slump and lag, Al has only to step forward and do his stuff, and the day is saved."[7] One trade paper commentator stated that The Singing Fool "will be to talking pictures what The Birth of a Nation
The Birth of a Nation
has been to silent pictures".[3] For a time, the film also made Davey Lee, Jolson's 3​1⁄2 year old co-star, the most popular child star since Jackie Coogan. Lee was re-teamed with Jolson in Say It With Songs
Say It With Songs
and starred in a few other films—including 1929's Sonny Boy—until his parents pulled him out of the movie business.[3]

The film is recognized by American Film
Institute in these lists:

2004: AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:

"Sonny Boy" – Nominated[8]


"There's a Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder" – words and music by Billy Rose, Al Jolson
Al Jolson
and Dave Dreyer "Golden Gate" – words by Billy Rose
Billy Rose
and Dave Dreyer, music by Al Jolson and Joseph Meyer "I'm Sittin' on Top of the World" – words by Sam Lewis and Joe Young, music by Ray Henderson "It All Depends on You" – words and music by Lew Brown, B. G. DeSylva and Ray Henderson "Keep Smiling at Trouble" – words by Al Jolson
Al Jolson
and B. G. DeSylva, music by Lewis Gensler "Sonny Boy" – words and music by Lew Brown, B. G. DeSylva and Ray Henderson

"Sonny Boy" became the first song from a movie to sell over a million copies. It eventually sold over 3 million copies of sheet music, piano rolls and phonograph records.

"The Spaniard That Blighted My Life" – Billy Merson (see below) Source:[1]

Deleted scenes[edit] Al Jolson's rendition of "The Spaniard That Blighted My Life" is missing from extant prints of the film. This is due to a lawsuit initiated by the song's author, Billy Merson. Merson claimed that he, as a performer, owed his income to his own renditions of the song, and that Jolson's version would diminish his ability to earn a living. The song was removed from all prints of "The Singing Fool" shown in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, the only surviving copies of the film are also from the U.K., hence are missing the song. These copies also have the majority of the original decorative Warner Brothers title cards replaced with simple British made ones which were used to remove Americanisms which the British would not understand or appreciate (a common practice during the silent era). Only the soundtrack survives on extant Vitaphone discs. See also[edit]

List of early Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
talking features

References[edit] Notes

^ a b c d e The Singing Fool
The Singing Fool
at the American Film
Institute Catalog ^ Furia, Philip; Patterson, Laurie (2010). The Songs of Hollywood. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. p. 26. ISBN 9780199792665.  ^ a b c d e Bradley, Edwin M. (1996). The First Hollywood Musicals: A Critical Filmography of 171 Features, 1927 Through 1932. McFarland & Company. pp. 10–12. ISBN 9780786420292.  ^ Staff (4 March 1944). "Which Cinema Films Have Earned The Most Money since 1914?". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. p. 3 Supplement: The Argus Weekend magazine. Retrieved 6 August 2012.  ^ "The Singing Fool". Film
Daily. New York: Wid's Films and Film
Folk, Inc.: 6 September 23, 1928.  ^ Hall, Mordaunt (September 20, 1928). "Movie Review – The Singing Fool". The New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2015.  ^ Mosher, John (September 29, 1928). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker: 77.  ^ " AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-05. 

Further reading

Staff (September 23, 1928) "Two Sound Pictures" The New York Times

External links[edit]

The Singing Fool
The Singing Fool
at the American Film
Institute Catalog The Singing Fool
The Singing Fool
on IMDb The Singing Fool
The Singing Fool
at AllMovie

v t e

Films directed by Lloyd Bacon

Broken Hearts of Hollywood
Broken Hearts of Hollywood
(1926) Private Izzy Murphy
Private Izzy Murphy
(1926) Finger Prints (1927) White Flannels (1927) The Heart of Maryland (1927) A Sailor's Sweetheart (1927) Brass Knuckles (1927) Women They Talk About
Women They Talk About
(1928) The Singing Fool
The Singing Fool
(1928) Pay as You Enter
Pay as You Enter
(1928) Stark Mad
Stark Mad
(1929) No Defense
No Defense
(1929) Say It with Songs
Say It with Songs
(1929) Honky Tonk (1929) So Long Letty (1929) The Other Tomorrow
The Other Tomorrow
(1930) She Couldn't Say No (1930) A Notorious Affair
A Notorious Affair
(1930) Moby Dick (1930) The Office Wife
The Office Wife
(1930) 50 Million Frenchmen (1931) Kept Husbands
Kept Husbands
(1931) Sit Tight
Sit Tight
(1931) Gold Dust Gertie
Gold Dust Gertie
(1931) Honor of the Family
Honor of the Family
(1931) Manhattan Parade
Manhattan Parade
(1931) Crooner (1932) Miss Pinkerton
Miss Pinkerton
(1932) The Famous Ferguson Case
The Famous Ferguson Case
(1932) You Said a Mouthful
You Said a Mouthful
(1932) 42nd Street (1933) Picture Snatcher
Picture Snatcher
(1933) Footlight Parade
Footlight Parade
(1933) Wonder Bar
Wonder Bar
(1934) A Very Honorable Guy
A Very Honorable Guy
(1934) Here Comes the Navy
Here Comes the Navy
(1934) He Was Her Man
He Was Her Man
(1934) 6 Day Bike Rider
6 Day Bike Rider
(1934) In Caliente (1935) Frisco Kid (1935) Sons o' Guns
Sons o' Guns
(1936) Cain and Mabel (1936) Gold Diggers of 1937
Gold Diggers of 1937
(1936) Marked Woman
Marked Woman
(1937) Ever Since Eve
Ever Since Eve
(1937) San Quentin (1937) Boy Meets Girl (1938) A Slight Case of Murder
A Slight Case of Murder
(1938) Cowboy from Brooklyn
Cowboy from Brooklyn
(1938) Wings of the Navy
Wings of the Navy
(1939) The Oklahoma Kid
The Oklahoma Kid
(1939) Indianapolis Speedway (1939) Espionage Agent
Espionage Agent
(1939) A Child Is Born (1939) Invisible Stripes
Invisible Stripes
(1939) Three Cheers for the Irish
Three Cheers for the Irish
(1940) Brother Orchid
Brother Orchid
(1940) Knute Rockne, All American
Knute Rockne, All American
(1940) Honeymoon for Three (1941) Footsteps in the Dark (1941) Affectionately Yours
Affectionately Yours
(1941) Navy Blues (1941) Larceny, Inc.
Larceny, Inc.
(1942) Wings for the Eagle
Wings for the Eagle
(1942) Silver Queen
Silver Queen
(1942) Action in the North Atlantic
Action in the North Atlantic
(1943) The Fighting Sullivans
The Fighting Sullivans
(1944) Sunday Dinner for a Soldier
Sunday Dinner for a Soldier
(1944) Captain Eddie
Captain Eddie
(1945) Wake Up and Dream (1946) Home Sweet Homicide
Home Sweet Homicide
(1946) I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now (1947) You Were Meant for Me (1948) Give My Regards to Broadway (1948) An Innocent Affair
An Innocent Affair
(1948) Mother Is a Freshman
Mother Is a Freshman
(1949) It Happens Every Spring
It Happens Every Spring
(1949) Miss Grant Takes Richmond
Miss Grant Takes Richmond
(1949) The Good Humor Man (1950) Kill the Umpire
Kill the Umpire
(1950) The Fuller Brush Girl
The Fuller Brush Girl
(1950) Golden Girl (1951) Call Me Mister (1951) The Frogmen
The Frogmen
(1951) The Great Sioux Uprising
The Great Sioux Uprising
(1953) The French Line
The French Line
(1953) She Couldn't S