6.3/10
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13 user 6 critic

The Singing Fool (1928)

A singing waiter and composer (Al Jolson) loves two women (Betty Bronson, Josephine Dunn), conquers Broadway and holds his dying son, singing "Sonny Boy."

Director:

Lloyd Bacon

Writers:

C. Graham Baker (adaptation), C. Graham Baker (story) (as Leslie Burrows) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Al Jolson ... Al Stone
Betty Bronson ... Grace
Josephine Dunn ... Molly Winton
Arthur Housman ... Blackie Joe
Reed Howes ... John Perry
Davey Lee ... Sonny Boy (as David Lee)
Edward Martindel ... Louis Marcus
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Cafe Owner, Bill (as Robert O'Connor)
Helen Lynch ... Maid
Agnes Franey Agnes Franey ... 'Balloon' Girl
The Yacht Club Boys The Yacht Club Boys ... Singing Quartette
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jack Stoutenburg Jack Stoutenburg
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Storyline

Al Stone is singing waiter in a speakeasy who is in love with Molly, the singing star at the speakeasy, but she spurns him. Al gets his big break and goes on to become a Broadway sensation. Written by Trisha Warren

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

NEVER BEFORE HAS GREATER ENTERTAINMENT BEEN OFFERED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE (Print Ad- Rock Rapids Review ((Rock Rapids, Iowa)) 15 November 1928) See more »

Genres:

Musical | Drama

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 April 1929 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

El loco cantor See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$10,900,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,862,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Contains the first song to sell over a million copies, 'Sonny Boy.' (it eventually sold over 3 million copies). See more »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Singing Sap (1930) See more »

Soundtracks

California, Here I Come
(uncredited)
Music by Joseph Meyer
Played during the intertitle about the "following four years"
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Big Hand for Josephine Dunn!
24 April 2010 | by JohnHowardReidSee all my reviews

Not all early talkies were all-talking. One of the most notable of the hybrid's is 1928's "The Singing Fool" in which Al Jolson makes a valiant attempt – despite a sticky script and Lloyd Bacon's uncertain direction – to outdo his "The Jazz Singer" (1927). The movie is about three-quarters talkie, one quarter silent. Aside from the jarring of sudden swings from spoken dialog to title cards and the camera fluidity of Bacon's direction in some of the silent sequences versus the static camera set-ups of the sound, the movie succeeds in holding attention thanks to the charisma of its two lead players, Al Jolson and the lovely Josephine Dunn, who, alas, was unable to capitalize on her success here because she was then cast in a series of either indifferent or silent vehicles (when the public was screaming for sound). Within a year, she ended up in support slots. In this movie, despite the magnitude and importance of her role, Miss Dunn is actually billed under Betty Bronson who not only has a minuscule part but a totally inept voice that lacks projection. She seems to be whispering her lines (some of her words are inaudible) rather than speaking them. But never mind, all the film's audio defects were of no importance to moviegoers. They loved Jolson's full-blooded singing and the sheer novelty of sound. Initial domestic rentals topped $5 million, supplanting the $4.5 million takings of 1921's "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse". It wasn't until 1938 that this record was broken by Walt Disney's truly colossal $8 million domestic gross for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".


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