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131 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better then ever in 2005!
Hopefully I am the first to rate the 25th Anniversary DVD of this movie.

First of all, if you have the original copy that was released a few years back, get rid of it! The sound quality of this version is WAY better! (No more turning the volume way up for the dialogue, then way down for the music.) This is also done in widescreen, so you can see EVERYTHING...
Published on October 18, 2005 by J. Lentz

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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seven million votes
I don't understand how some have said that this is not a good film. Lucie Arnaz is wonderful in her role as Neil Diamond's supporter and wife. The soundtrack sold over 7 MILLION copies and I remember the feeling the songs gave me years later. The songs are not "soapy" but are full of meaning for people of all ages. Neil Diamond is not a great actor but does...
Published on June 11, 2000


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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great vehicle for Neil Diamond, March 28, 2001
By 
David E. Levine (Peekskill , NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Jazz Singer [VHS] (VHS Tape)
OK, so this second remake of the Al Jolson classic is implausible! Furthermore, Laurence Olivier plays a Yiddish accented cantor of all things! Nonetheless, this movie is highly entertaining if you are a Neil Diamond fan. The soundtrack is great (even though inexpicably it got nominated for no oscars) and the story, though sappy, is fun. OK, I admit it ... it's more than sappy ... it's down right corny! Diamond is a cantor who breaks both family tradition and his marriage to go off to LA to become a songwriter/pop star. He makes it big quickly and falls in love with a non Jewish producer (Lucy Arnez). Papa finds out and exclaims "I have no son" as he rends his clothing in mourning. Look, I have no illusions ... if you are not a Neil Diamond fan, this flick is two stars. If you dig Diamond like I do, it's five stars all the way.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Movie great-DVD quality HORRIBLE, July 30, 2001
By 
This review is from: The Jazz Singer (DVD)
I realize that a DVD priced at [...] is not going to be a digitally-enhanced, THX, filled-with-extras disc. However, I do think that the movie should be made from a master print. The Neil Diamond movie The Jazz Singer was good; the quality of the print was atrocious for a DVD. It was like watching a 5th generation VHS that had been in the sun all day. I exchanged the DVD, thinking there was something wrong with it. The 2nd copy looked just as bad. I am writing to the DVD distribution company.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Jazz Singer & Neil Diamond ROCK!, November 29, 2006
By 
Steven Hedge "Movie Fan" (Somewhere "East of Eden") - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is for my wife, Marilyn, as our wedding song came from it:

I was a senior in high school when this movie first hit the theaters and I loved it then and I love it now. Yes, the acting is a bit hammy by Laurence Olivier who was attempting to appease the Jewish population after giving an Oscar-nominated performance a year or so before for playing with great relish a vicious Nazi who tortures, via dentist equipment, Dustin Hoffman in "The Marathon Man." Can anyone forget his famous line from that film, "Is it safe?" In addition, Lucie Arnez is no great actress, but what she lacks in talent she makes up for in her charming honest portrayal as Diamond's compassionate agent. Lastly, Neil Diamond is certainly no great actor either, no matter how much I love him as musician and entertainer, but this movie somehow works despite these noted flaws and some rather amateurish direction by Richard Fleicher. Perhaps the movie succeeds because the plot is as timeless as Hollywood gets.

We all love to experience someone achieving his or her goals and that's why these kinds of movies withstand the test of time even when the critics blast them. Consider the following: While Olivier hams it up a bit, he is still great to watch and demands your respect. Lucie Arnez is disarmingly charming in her role as an agent trying to help someone she believes in, but also trying not to be caught up in her client's personal life. Of course, Neil Diamond is no actor, but he is pleasing to watch and he's certainly believable in a role that he was destined to play as it mirrors his own story quite a bit; he came from a family of dentists and was expected to be one also, but he dropped out in his last semester and hit the road with a backpack and his guitar --the rest is history. Lastly, the music is awesome. Diamond was at the height of his career musically when he did this film and the soundtrack produced 3 #1 songs and was one of Billboard's longest running soundtrack best-sellers. This was no fluke as Diamond had already won praise for his song "Be" from the film "Jonathan Livingston Seagull." He knows how to write music for films and I wish he had more opportunities to do so.

While the movie wasn't necessarily "a hit," but it did find a substantial audience and made a good profit. Something about it made it work even though it is admittedly flawed. It went on to greater success on VHS and DVD and this new addition will probably sell just as well or better with the improved sound clarity that the other releases seriously lacked. I was happy to read here that I wasn't the only one turning up the volume for the dialogue and lower it for the music segments. That drove me nuts in the earlier releases.

Moving along, although I am Christian, I grew up in a mostly Jewish section in Brooklyn, New York, in fact, not far from where Diamond and Streisand actually grew up. My home was near Diamond's high school. Anyhow, between that and having dated a wonderful Jewish girl most of my high school days I grew to appreciate the Jewish faith and culture. My neighborhood local theater re-released this film numerous times and I went to see it each time they played it. It was the first movie I took my wife to see back in April of 1983 and she loved it and cried at the end as many in the theater did. The #1 song "Hello Again" went on to become "our song" and the one we danced to at our wedding as your spouse should also be your best friend and that's what the song is about and even the movie as well to some degree as Diamond's wife in the film never shared his interests or desires although she was aware of them since they were little kids growing up in the same neighborhood. She kept crying how he had changed when he became a pop-rock star when in reality his desires had simply come true. All she ever attempted to do in the film was either hold him back or ignore his dreams and a spouse should never do either of those.

Having said all this it is obvious that my love for Diamond's music, Hollywoods tireless theme of success against the odds, watching any performance by the great Olivier, and sharing this film with the woman I would eventually spend the next 24 years of my life with make me a bias reviewer here. I concede that observation, but still contend that in spite of this film's obvious flaws, it is still great entertainment.

Enjoy this classic!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romantic Story-telling At It's Best!, July 27, 2001
This review is from: The Jazz Singer [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I have just finished watching the DVD, which recently has been released here in Victoria, Australia.
I first saw "The Jazz Singer" In Melbourne, back in '80-'81, with my eldest son, who was 16 at the time. I went to the theatre under duress, doing my duty as "dad", and came away elated - much to my son's great satisfaction . . .
My response to it then has increased the more! I am no movie critic, like my hero & guide in these matters, Leonard Maltin, however I find that 'The Jazz Singer' has an emotional relevence & impact that has increased with time. I am not surprised to learn from your reviewers that the sound-track has sold 7 million plus!
The multi-layered themes of the film & the acting of the widely differing characters, their social and heart-felt situations in life, let alone the presentation of the music, seem well-placed to draw at my heart-strings - notwithstanding the age of the movie, or the "canning" it has received over the years.
Incidentally, my grand-children love it too, especially my 16 year old grand-daughter, who is very much of the new generation.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity of "sticking my oar in", as the old saying goes, and many thanks to those who have shared their reactions to this old Movie.
With every good wish,
RAOUL JOHN CAMPBELL.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars if I could give it more than 5 stars, I would, September 16, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Jazz Singer (DVD)
this movie didn't do very well among those who are not diamondheads. but if you are one, as I am, this is a great movie to have. the story is classic and neil does a great job as the lead. this is a movie well worth the money paid for it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Eye Heff No Son!!!", June 30, 2006
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This is a marvelous experience! I first saw "The Jazz Singer" in 1980 in the cinema and was immediately hooked on Neil Diamond. It was gratifying to find a Jewish story on the big screen, too, with Shabbat and Yom Kippur services and Hebrew songs, juxtaposed with Diamond's secular hits. Looking back after 26 years of life experience and three extended stays in Israel, I can't help but to have warm memories of this movie. The story, in my opinion, was sufficient to maintain interest, and although the acting was either VERY method (and who can forget Olivier's "Eye Heff No Son!!"--how often has THAT been passed into popular culture such as "The Simpsons!") or painfully amateur, this film is eminently enjoyable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neil Diamond is ENTERTAINMENT!, August 2, 2002
By 
"tambovester" (Lake Elsinore, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Jazz Singer [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I loved Neil Diamond - he came across great in this movie even thought he's of course not an actor. He's a GREAT entertainer, though, and his love of music, and his audience to give them what they wanted was apparent. I watch this movie over and over again. The music makes you feed good!Music tract is an A++++ = 5 stars all the way. Saw him in concert in the early 90's - he's awsome!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars - Neil Diamond... songs that touch our hearts!, May 13, 2007
Neil Diamond plays the roll of Yussel, the son of a Jewish Cantor who is expected to follow the traditional role of five previous generations of Cantors, dedicating their lives to guide a congregation through music.

As he seeks his own individuality, he defies his father, played masterfully by Sir Laurence Olivier, who is very unhappy to see his son attempting to step out of the role he was "born" to be, for to have received such a voice from God... has to mean that he must be a Cantor at the Synagogue.

The relentless pursuit of his dream, takes Neil Diamond from New York to California, leaving behind his wife, a woman he grew up with and was supposed to be his companion for life.

But the wife does not follow the husband's dream, she was quite happy with all she had, a school, a Cantor for a husband, and a role... center stage in the lives of the families that formed the congregation of their synagogue.

In California, Neil Diamond meets Lucie Arnaz, playing the role of the vibrant, go-getter young woman who, upon hearing him sing for the first time, knows she is meant to see him achieve his dream.

They fall madly in love and together set out to make a popular pop singer out of Yussel. At some point the wife comes out to California to try to take him back to New York and some of the lines between these two women are simply superb. When the wife, played by Catlin Adams asks Lucie Arnaz about the relationship that is taking place in California... and how far it has actually gone, Lucie replies "I offered him my body and he settled for a pizza."

But Neil Diamond stays in California and one day is visited by the father who dreams of taking his son back to his beginning... back to continue the family tradition of being a Cantor. The son tells the father he must stay, and when the father sees the new woman in his son's life, he rips his clothing, a tradition to communicate that for him, his son is now dead!

In the end, the family is reunited, but some of the scenes between father and son are priceless jewels of attempting to step out of traditional roles.

A dear friend of the family visits Yussel and asks that he return in his role of Cantor for the festivity of Yum Kippur. His father is now too old and too ill due to high-blood pressure to sing. He says that Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, is the Jewish day of repentance, and reconciliation. So... there is no better time like the present for father and son to reunite.

When Neil Diamond returns to the Synagogue, he delivers some of the best lyrics of this movie... the song is deeply moving.

The movie opens and closes with the timeless classic "America" a song that for all of us, immigrants, reaching US soil in search of liberty, opportunity and the pursuit of happiness, this remains the most moving music of all.

As with Neil Diamond the best part of the movie are the songs, and here we get the best of Neil Diamond. Hava Nagila, Adon Ojom, You Baby, Love on the Rocks, Amazed and Confused, Summer Love, Hello Again, Acapulco, Songs of Life, Jerusalem, Kol Nidre "My Name is Yussel" and America.

We are fans of Neil Diamond and have never missed a concert when he has visited South Florida. This newly acquired movie is and shall remain... best in class in our collection. Don't miss it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, April 17, 2003
This review is from: The Jazz Singer [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I own it, I see it often, and I share it with friends. What else can you say??? This is basically is an updated version of original Al Jolson story brought to present times.
Working with Sir Lawrence Oliver must have given Neil many sleepless nights, how could it not be. Having said that, Neil's performance was outstanding in all areas. Neil Diamond's ability as a song writer and concert showman came through in this movie and this allowed his fans to see another demention to his personality.
As I see it, he did an excellent job, and the movie is very enjoyable. Though he has not made another movie, his singing is still the best. I beleive this picture will eventually become a classic. I also believe that this movie sends a good message to all that although we can respect our parents, that holding out for our own dreams is the way to go.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and Entertaining, February 18, 2000
This review is from: The Jazz Singer [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Motivational, entertaining, and easy. The film is complete in it's story, and is thus satisfying in an inspirational/motivational sense. Technically, many films are better, but this movie satisfies the desire to see someone attempt something, and to actually succeed. Neil Diamond is a (non-famous) cantor, who wants to be a (star-level) popular singer. Opportunities come his way, and he pursues them. Conflicts arise in his marriage, and elsewhere, as a result of pursuing his singing career; and he works through these problems. And succeeds. Therein is the greatness of this movie. Passion, pursuit, success.
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The Jazz Singer: 30th Anniversary Edition
The Jazz Singer: 30th Anniversary Edition by Richard Fleischer (DVD - 2009)
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