28 November 2009 | AlsExGal
Delightful swan song for Al Jolson as he exits Warner Brothers
This was the last of eight films that Jolson did for Warner Brothers between 1927 and 1936. Not many people have seen this one, but it is rather addictive with a great parody of Jolson as Jolson.
Jolson plays likable if irresponsible stage and radio star Al Jackson. He's given to trusting the people in his life to handle things for him just a little to much as he runs on overdrive from performance to performance. This gets him in trouble later in the film. Jackson lives at the top of a tall penthouse where he gives his most jubilant performance of "I Wanna Singa" along with Cab Calloway who happens to be practicing on an adjacent rooftop. Just in case you didn't know, that famous song comes from this movie, not the cute little cartoon with the singing Owl in it as most people think. Cab Calloway appears in several numbers with Jolson in this film.
One of the best scenes/numbers in the movie has Jolson rehearsing his radio show, starting out with "I Wanna Singa" and then segueing into "Mammy". At this point The Yacht Club Boys, playing representatives of the sponsor, tunefully interrupt and tell Jolson why he's out of date and can't sing his traditional Mammy songs on their show.
Being Jolson's leading lady didn't really help the film careers of the actresses involved (I'm excluding Mrs. Jolson here, AKA Ruby Keeler). Beverly Roberts - who plays the love interest here - is no exception. She worked for Warner Bros. in 1936 and 1937 and then went back to stage work. Lending strong support here is the ever-confused Edward Everett Hornton as the befuddled gentleman's gentleman to Jolson's character.
Definitely worth it for all Jolson fans. If you don't like Jolson I don't recommend it, as Jolson's films are usually all Jolson all the time, although this one has Jolson interacting with the rest of the cast a little more than his other films usually did.