Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1952. Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Frank Davis, Leonard Stern, Lewis Meltzer, based on the play by Samson Raphaelson. Cinematography by Carl E. Guthrie. Produced by Louis F. Edelman. Music by Ray Heindorf, Max Steiner. Production Design by Leo K. Kuter. Costume Design by Howard Shoup. Film Editing by Alan Crosland Jr.. Academy Awards 1952.
The creative artists who decided to remake this maudlin drama from the 1927 original starring Al Jolson seemed to be quite unaware that the material wasn’t that great in the first place. All that really made the 1927 version memorable was the fact that it was the first film to feature synchronized sound. The story has been opened up to feature Danny Thomas as the Jewish cantor who longs to sing jazz music, while girlfriend Peggy Lee just wants to see him happy. Mildred Dunnock stars as his softhearted mother who wants to please everyone while her husband turns his back on his son for abandoning his heritage. Sticky and overly sentimental at every chance it gets, it’s still a good thing to see a movie made about Jews during a time in Hollywood where everyone in the movies was white and lived in the suburbs. This benefit, however, doesn’t make the film any better.