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The Jazz Singer (Jerry Lewis)

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Editorial Reviews

*Includes Featurette on Restoration and Still Gallery! The groundbreaking physical comedy of Jerry Lewis has earned him the undisputed moniker of The King of Comedy. While the vast majority of Lewis extraordinary body of work is readily available, The Jazz Singer a rare dramatic performance, produced as a special for NBC s Lincoln-Mercury Startime TV series hasn t been seen since its original 1959 airing. Meticulously restored, this DVD includes the B&W kinescope version and an extremely rare video version, one of the earliest surviving examples of a color TV broadcast. True entertainment history from Lewis personal archives.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jerry Lewis, Eduard Franz, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Molly Picon, Joey Faye
  • Directors: Ralph Nelson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Inception Media Group
  • DVD Release Date: February 7, 2012
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0067YF04Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,354 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By TheBigClock on February 12, 2012
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Just moments ago watched my DVD of Jerry Lewis' JAZZ SINGER. Fantastic! Great music, and lots of Jerry schtick. Would've been nice to see the Lincoln-Mercury commercials, because they're not here, but the NBC Peacock, show and car logos remain intact. There's even Jerry's angular face logo at the end. Ken Carpenter ( of longtime association with Bing Crosby and the Kraft Music Hall ) does the announcing. Paramount's Walter Scharf arranges and conducts the music. Lewis movie co-star and pal Del Moore has a small role. NOTE: the black and white kinescope adds some stuff not on the color video: a preview of the following week's show, "The Turn of the Screw" starring Ingrid Bergman, plus an NBC camera at the beginning and the NBC chimes at the end. Jerry Lewis fans, GET THIS NOW, before it's impossible to find any longer! You won't regret it. Amazing that we can now watch these rarities, direct from Jerry's personal archives! Thank you, Mr. Lewis. - William Carroll, Denham Springs, Louisiana
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on January 20, 2012
Jerry Lewis is a control freak and - per his son (Chris) on the 111 minute "featurette) about the "restoration" - from his second self-directed film he always had a video made. For his TV shows he had kinescopes. He has 1500 reels of film in his own collection.

The Jazz Singer aired on TV in October 1959 on the Lincoln-Mercury Startime Theater show. It was pre-recorded on COLOR VIDEO TAPE (an RCA product since NBC was promoting color). It was then aired. This color version is from JL's collection and has NEVER been shown since the original televised date. It looks gorgeous, and it's not even a first generation tape. When Chris Lewis found it they found that there were parts where sound was missing. But they found an AUDIO tape of the sound track and using that, and the B&W kinescope, they restored the sound. The Color version is crisp and sharp and BRIGHT. The DVD includes the B&W kinescope too but there's no reason to watch that! (Really- it's also worn and unrestored).

The show was directed by Ralph Nelson. The cast is great - though if they left Lewis out I wouldn't miss him. Eduord Franz as his father, Molly Picon as his mother and Barry Gordon as his nephew. Alan Reed (Fred Flintstone) is uncle and Joey Faye as his agent. Anna Maria Alberghetti is the "love interest". She had just finished "Cinderfella" with Lewis.

Because the show is only 52 minutes (commercials were removed) and Lewis' ego is so big, the story is really cut down. Lewis has his nightclub career already at the beginning and comes home to find his father ill. The final moments of Lewis conducting the Yom Kippur service that his ill Cantor father can't conduct is bizarre. There he is with a yarmulke and clown makeup! And the show ends.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Edward B. Greenbaum on February 7, 2012
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Jerry Lewis' 1959 TV special of "The Jazz Singer" is a must-have for those who are either Lewis fans, early TV historians, or just curious about this remake of Al Jolson's 1927 superb film. It is quite a surprise, far better than I'd imagined. As Lewis' son says on the featurette, the show was done as an homage to Jolson,, one of Lewis'idols. Jerry's acting is unusually good- subtle and moving. The DVD was remastered from a second generation color copy of an NBC color tape in Lewis' private archive--a rarity in 1959.
Well worth the price!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brooklyn Phantom on September 27, 2012
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The Jazz Singer was a very good movie. My only complaint was that it was too short.
Jerry is very talented and I really enjoyed him in this foray into comedy drama.
It is a must see for all Jerry Lewis fans. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By s on September 23, 2012
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Being able to view original material like this (color video from this period is so rarely shown) is wonderful.

The production has a live, "real" feel to it and the performances are excellent. Around this time Lewis was the highest paid movie and TV performer in the world and it is great to see him do something challenging as a dramatic actor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. LINDUP on August 16, 2012
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Well, you either love or hate Mr. Lewis! His attempt to play a straight role, even one originated by his idol Al Jolson, was a daring attempt to be serious, if only for a less-than-an hour TV production. The supporting cast (including Molly Picon, Alan Reed)is very strong and Jerry obviously relishes the role.Had the piece ran for another half-hour it possibly would have had more impact and be less abrupt. The picture and sound quality are very acceptable, considering the source, though why we need a b/w version too, other than to pad-out the playing time, I don't know.It is still a 'must' for us Jerry fanatics!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PATRICK J.POWERS on March 28, 2012
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For many years I have been accustomed to the comedy side of Jerry Lewis. In this 1959 television special,THE JAZZ SINGER shows a dramatic side. There were some funny momeents in it I will admit but if you are a fan of Jerry, don't pass the opportunity in purchasing this DVD and watching it. Another thing unique about this special is how it held up in color for 52 years when it first aired in October,1959. I liked the featurette on how the restoration process was performed. One other thing missing...the commercials...wish I would have seen a 1960 Lincoln Continental ad in this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By smcohn on October 5, 2014
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Much like the film versions, it is very reflective of the times (the mid to late 50s). In this role, Jerry Lewis's acting is somewhat muted; definitely not over the top like most of his other films of the era. This is an interesting piece of television history.
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