Il cantante di jazz (film di Alan Crosland del 1927)

IL CANTANTE DI JAZZ è un film interpretato dall’allora star di Broadway Al Jolson, ed ha un posto di assoluto rilievo nella storia del cinema in quanto è il film che ha agevolato per primo la transazione dal muto al sonoro. Anzi, a tal proposito, per molti anni la critica si è divisa nel considerarlo il primo film sonoro della storia, anche se in realtà esso utilizza ancora per larghi tratti, musiche escluse, i classici accorgimenti del muto con le didascalie, e la presenza di dialoghi sonori si riduce a poco più di un minuto. Per assistere al primo esempio di film interamente sonorizzato non si dovrà comunque attendere molto, infatti già l’anno dopo con LIGHTS OF NEW YORK ciò diventerà realtà.

La trama, alquanto esile per la verità, è incentrata sul protagonista Jackie Rabinowitz, americano di estrazione ebrea, che non vuole cantare in sinagoga, come impone il protocollo familiare, in quanto appassionato di jazz. In aperto contrasto con il rigido padre, lascia la casa di famiglia per inseguire il successo dipingendosi la faccia di nero con le labbra dipinte con un largo contorno bianco, e comincia ad esibirsi con lo pseudonimo di Jack Robin. L’incontro e l’amore con Mary, anche lei cantante, porteranno Jack ad un sempre maggiore successo che sarà propedeutico alla riconciliazione con la famiglia.

Il film fu un autentico successo di pubblico, spinto appunto dalla curiosità di vedere questa importante innovazione tecnologica, e fu anche un salvagente non indifferente per le casse della Warner Bros, che era in procinto di scomparire a causa della Grande Depressione degli anni ’20. La grande eco mediatica lo fece arrivare anche in Italia due anni dopo, ed anche qui fu un successo clamoroso. Il protagonista Al Jolson, che era davvero di estrazione ebrea, fu scelto in quanto era in quegli anni la più grande star del musical vivente e nel film in questione interpreta ben 9 canzoni originali.

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