Jazz Singer History

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Sylvia History of Film Date The film The Jazz Singer as a whole contains numerous scenes which exemplify duality in American culture, but none do so quite as clearly as the dressing room scene with Jack Robin/Jakie Rabinowitz (Al Jolson) and Mary Dale (May McAvoy). This scene takes place moments before the dress rehearsal for their big Broadway production of April Follies. It shows that Jack going through a very powerful internal struggle between his family and the life he once knew, and a life of fame and fortune; a life that he has never known before. This scene is painful, not only for the characters, but for the audience to watch as well. Just moments before Jack enters the dressing room, he is made to choose between his family and the traditions he used to follow and his new career by either singing in place of his ill father on the Day of Atonement or singing for the new Broadway show he is meant to star in, both of which happen to be on the same night. He tells his family friend, Yudelson, that he has basically made up his mind on the matter by saying “We in show business have our religion too … the show must go on!” Now, after having rejected the offer for him to redeem himself in the eyes of his father, Jack walks into his dressing room followed by Mary, who is already in costume. She asks him why he isn’t enthusiastic about performing that night, to which he reassures her that he has nothing on his mind but being great in the show. He then turns around and begins to put his blackface makeup on to the minstrel tune “Mammy,” almost as if he is baptizing himself into his new “religion” that is show business. This is interesting because, this shows that in order for him to have proof that there is a physical change in him because of his new religion, he has to actually take on an entirely new look to him. I chose this scene because it is, perhaps,

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