Why Did Negroes Love Al Jolson and The Jazz Singer?: Melodrama, Blackface and Cosmopolitan Theatrical Culture

@article{Musser2011WhyDN,
  title={Why Did Negroes Love Al Jolson and The Jazz Singer?: Melodrama, Blackface and Cosmopolitan Theatrical Culture},
  author={Charles Musser},
  journal={Film History: An International Journal},
  year={2011},
  volume={23},
  pages={196 - 222}
}
  • Charles Musser
  • Published 11 September 2011
  • Art
  • Film History: An International Journal
This essay offers a reassessment of The Jazz Singer (1927) and Al Jolson by challenging several different lines of persistent criticism: its lack of artistic merit, its effacement of Jewish identity and its racist depictions in light of Jolson's use of blackface. Rather than a failed adaptation of Samson Raphaelson's play of the same name, the picture innovatively reworked both that play and E.A. Dupont's film The Ancient Law (Das Alte Gesetz, 1923), further placing it within a framework of… 

‘Strange Rendering:’ Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Yiddish and the Staging of Race at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

While the scholarly literature on Black-Jewish relations continues to expand, its archive has remained remarkably unchanged. Although recent explorations of representations of African Americans in

Antiracism in Othello sketch comedy, 1967-1999

  • S. Hamrick
  • Linguistics
    The European Journal of Humour Research
  • 2022
Despite Shakespeare’s rejection of comic, racist stereotypes in Othello, minstrel shows offered racist blackface caricatures of slaves and others of African descent that filtered through British

Cinemagoing in District Six, Cape Town, 1920s to 1960s: History, politics, memory

Drawing on recorded and transcribed life history interviews conducted during the 1980s and 2000s, this article discusses the cinemagoing experiences of District Six residents in Cape Town from the

The Outward Turn: Personality, Blankness, and Allure in American Modernism

The Outward Turn: Personality, Blankness, and Allure in American Modernism

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 88 REFERENCES

Idols of Modernity: Movie Stars of the 1920s

With its sharp focus on stardom during the 1920s, ""Idols of Modernity"" reveals strong connections and dissonances in matters of storytelling and performance that can be traced both backward and

Blackface, White Noise: Jewish Immigrants in the Hollywood Melting Pot

The tangled connections that have bound Jews to African Americans in popular culture and liberal politics are at the heart of Michael Rogin's arresting and unnerving new book. Looking at films from

Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class.

Preface to the 20th-Anniversary Edition by Greil Marcus Introduction Part I 1. Blackface and Blackness: The Minstrel Show in American Culture 2. Love and Theft: "Racial" Production and the Social

Jolson: The Legend Comes to Life

Al Jolson was a famous American entertainer in the first thirty years of this century and his career is a familiar rags to riches story. But beneath his popular exterior lay a man who treated women

Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise

When movie buffs speak of "the Lubitsch touch", they refer to a sense of style and taste, humour and humanity that defined the films of Ernst Lubitsch. Born in Berlin and trained first in the German

The Cambridge companion to the Harlem Renaissance

Chronology of major works and events Introduction George Hutchinson Part I. Foundations of the Harlem Renaissance: 1. The New Negro as citizen Jeffrey C. Stewart 2. The Renaissance and the Vogue

Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture

This book examines racial impersonations - i.e., blackface - in modern American film, fiction, poetry, painting, photography, and journalism. Gubar shows how the white popular imagination has evolved

Philosophical Problems of Classical Film Theory

This book is an analytical inquiry into classical film theory (that is, film theory before the advent of the semiotics and poststructuralism that began to dominate academic film literature in the

Disintegrating the Musical: Black Performance and American Musical Film

From the earliest sound films to the present, American cinema has represented African Americans as decidedly musical. Disintegrating the Musical tracks and analyzes this history of musical

Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess

Richard Abel, author of two distinguished works on French film and theory, teaches at Drake University. Carolyn Anderson teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Edward D. Castillo is a
...