Singing star loses his voice, recuperates in the country, meets aspiring playwright and her daughter.Singing star loses his voice, recuperates in the country, meets aspiring playwright and her daughter.Singing star loses his voice, recuperates in the country, meets aspiring playwright and her daughter.
In The Singing Kid, Al Jolson plays Al Jackson an entertainer who was not unlike the real Al Jolson in some respects. He's rather free with his money, Jolson was legendary for that, especially since he trusts his lawyer and business manager Lyle Talbot who is stealing from him and two timing him with Claire Dodd who usually played bad girls over at Warner Brothers in the Thirties.
When things go bad for Jolson and he loses his money, his girl, and his voice, he takes a long vacation at a cabin in Maine with two of his retainers Edward Everett Horton and Allen Jenkins. In real life Jolson had many of those, not unlike Frank Sinatra. He meets and falls for Beverly Roberts who has a real cute niece she has custody of, Sybil Jason. Jolson together with Jason have some Sonny girl moments on the screen hearkening back to The Singing Fool with Davey Lee.
Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg wrote the score which also interpolated some Jolson standards. Nothing memorable from the official composers and they must have felt like the songwriters from many of Jolson's Broadway shows who always had Al interpolate his own material in the show.
Cab Calloway and his orchestra appeared and Calloway did a typical Cab Calloway number in the film. It must have been really strange on that set with the entertainer who made his mark first in minstrel shows in blackface and who wouldn't leave it and one of the best entertainers who happened to be black around. Jolson does about half of his songs in blackface and half au natural.
As a grown woman Sybil Jason said she had fond memories of Jolson who threw her a birthday party on the set and gave her a bicycle.
The Singing Kid is a must for Jolson fans, but I doubt that too many other people would really be interested in it.
- Apr 30, 2010