After the success of THE JAZZ SINGER (Jolson had faith in it as he took much of his salary in Warner Brothers stock), it was only natural to rush out another one starring the entertainer. This time it's a weeper with Jolie playing the part of a waiter-songwriter who tries to convince the
singer (Dunn) at the club that he's the guy for her. At first, she is not convinced, then she succumbs to his entreaties when he writes a song for her and sings it on the night club floor. It just so happens that a big-time Broadway producer, Martindel, is in the place, and he brings Jolson to
Broadway. Jolson and Dunn marry, have a child, Lee, but after four years, Dunn doesn't want to have anything more to do with him, so she takes Lee and travels to France. Jolson's career goes straight downhill, and he is almost a case for welfare when he meets cigarette girl Bronson, who helps him
back up the ladder. Jolson goes on top again, then learns that his little son is dying. He rushes to the hospital, holds the lad and sings, you guessed it, "Sonny Boy," just before Lee dies, then walks on stage to do his act for a crowd that doesn't know the pain he's in. THE SINGING FOOL is only
a part-talkie, with printed titles by dialoger Joe Jackson bridging the gap. Jolson was paid $150,000 for this film. "Sonny Boy" (Lew Brown, B.G. DeSylva, Ray Henderson) was penned as a gag and eventually sold over three million copies of sheet music. The trio also wrote "It All Depends on You"
and "I'm Sittin' on Top of the World" (both sung by Jolson, who does every tune in the movie, as was his practice). Jolson, Billy Rose, and Dave Dreyer wrote "There's a Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder." Other tunes include "Golden Gate" (Rose, Dreyer, Jolson, Joseph Meyer), "Keep Smilin' at Trouble"
(Jolson, DeSylva, Lewis E. Gensler), and "The Spaniard Who Blighted My Life" (Billy Merson). Little Lee was not yet four years of age and almost stole the movie from Jolson, a scene-stealer of no mean repute. The picture grossed more than $4 million.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: After the success of THE JAZZ SINGER (Jolson had faith in it as he took much of his salary in Warner Brothers stock), it was only natural to rush out another one starring the entertainer. This time it's a weeper with Jolie playing the part of a waiter-song… (more)