[78-L] Jazz Singer, plus "Mama" tangent

David Lennick dlennick at sympatico.ca
Fri Feb 1 19:41:53 PST 2013

Promos and logos, that should be. If there are logs, they must be plugs for 

And now that I've deftly hijacked my own thread to include new films, and 
speaking of Mammy, has anyone here seen MAMA, the recent horror flick starring 
Jessica Chastain? The reason I ask is because I may or may not be in it, but 
none of the reviews refers to the flashback scenes where angry 19th-century 
townsfolk chase a baby-stealer to the edge of a cliff. Even the casting 
director didn't know since she didn't get to the preview.


On 2/1/2013 10:35 PM, Michael Biel wrote:
> OK, go to Coffee Dan's.  When Jolson sings Dirty Hands Dirty Mind, are
> there light vertical lines running down the screen, sometimes across his
> entire body.  Then as Mary Dale comes down the stairs, is there a
> vertical line down the middle of her face in the first close up and to
> the left side of her face in the last second or so of her 2nd close-up.
> Then look at the train scene.  There should be no duplication of the
> writing in the close-up of the letter writing that opens the scene, and
> no pause in the music behind it.  Then during the scene does the music
> make sense.  For example, does the bassoon mocking music come as the old
> dowager prima dona is on the screen.  Do the train bells come just as
> the train starts to enter the screen. As Jolson walks through the
> neighborhood does the music match what we see, especially as he and the
> kibitzer recognizer each other.  Does the mother theme come when we see
> his mother.
> Lastly, to make sure that they are really running a restoration, not
> just an old print, just before Mammy are there two shots of the outside
> of the theater marquee.  I don't see these in the old prints.  There
> should be LOTS of headroom while Jolson sings in Coffee Dans.  Old
> prints can even trim off the top of his scalp.  There should be even an
> inch of screen above his head, depending on your TV.
> Mike Biel  mbiel at mbiel.com
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: [78-L] Jazz Singer Blu-ray set -- my Amazon review
> From: David Lennick<dlennick at sympatico.ca>
> Date: Fri, February 01, 2013 12:55 pm
> To: 78-L Mail List<78-l at klickitat.78online.com>
> Okay folks, I recorded the TCM transmission of The Jazz Singer this
> morning.
> Where am I supposed to look to see if the corrections have been made?
> (I'll
> allow a minute or so extra since promos and logs are at the top of the
> program.) I have no burning desire to sit through the old version (and
> no
> burning desire to watch this old chestnut more than once every 20 years
> in any
> case). What I spotted through looks very clean.
> dl
> On 1/26/2013 2:11 PM, Jeff Sultanof wrote:
>> Thank you, Dr. Biel for such a great review. I was going to upgrade anyway,
>> but this certainly tips the scale.
>> And David, I would imagine that TMC is running the new restoration, as the
>> HD transfer for the Blu-ray is now the official master for this feature
>> (Thank goodness those synch issues were addressed).
>> Jeff Sultanof
>> On Sat, Jan 26, 2013 at 10:58 AM, David Lennick<dlennick at sympatico.ca>wrote:
>>> I see TMC is showing The Jazz Singer next Saturday morning. Any chance
>>> they'll
>>> have the new restoration?
>>> dl
>>> On 1/25/2013 11:28 PM, Michael Biel wrote:
>>>> Since a lot of you on the list might be interested, here (with the usual
>>>> disclaimers) is my Amazon review of the new Blu-ray edition of The Jazz
>>>> Singer and Vitaphone collection:
>>> http://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Singer-Blu-ray-Al-Jolson/dp/B009P07QPS/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
>>>> Let's cut to the chase because it is obvious that all film collectors
>>>> either need this or already have the DVD -- yes, you DO need to upgrade
>>>> from the DVD to this new Blu-ray edition. It IS that much better.
>>>> All of the errors in the DVD have been corrected. The scratches during
>>>> "Dirty Hands, Dirty Face" and much of the rest of the Coffee Dan's scene
>>>> have been eliminated without a trace. The mis-matched synchronization of
>>>> the entire reel before "Blue Skies" has been fixed. The artificial
>>>> shaking of the inter-titles to disguise them being free-frames has been
>>>> steadied. In the extras, they have put in the correct two scenes from
>>>> "Gold Diggers Of Broadway" -- we actually see Nick Lucas sing in 2-strip
>>>> Technicolor "Tip-Toe Through the Tulips" this time. As an additional
>>>> bonus they have added two shorts which have cameo appearances by Al
>>>> Jolson and Ruby Keeler at Santa Anita Raceway. Most of the printed
>>>> extras from the DVD set are in the book except for most of the
>>>> postcards, but they have added some great portraits, bios, and an
>>>> illustrated essay on the earlier film sound systems.
>>>> Only disc one is Blu-ray. Discs two and three are still DVD, and
>>>> actually have the same labels and catalog number as the originals -- so
>>>> don't mix them up with your originals or else you'll lose Nick Lucas.
>>>> They are still standard definition, but the first disc is High
>>>> Defination and the image sparkles! The DVD was good, but the Blu-ray
>>>> image will blow you away. It probably looks better than original nitrate
>>>> prints looked in 1927. I'll go so far as to say that it proves that you
>>>> DO need to buy that Blu-ray player if you haven't yet.
>>>> The aforementioned scratches on the DVD were always a puzzle to me. They
>>>> were continuous vertical scratches that often hit right on Jolson's
>>>> face. You could tell they had worked on them because they were faint
>>>> remnants of what must have originally been very deep. But they were
>>>> still there in the most famous scene in the film. When Mary Dale enters
>>>> down the stairs the scratch is right down the middle of her face in the
>>>> first close-up and very heavy at the end of the second close-up. (There!
>>>> I've done it!! If you never noticed them before, now you will never be
>>>> able to watch the DVD again without them bothering you!!! Mission
>>>> Accomplished!) But they are GONE in the Blu-ray!!
>>>> The sync problem in the DVD starts at the beginning of the train station
>>>> scene where they mis-start the disc too late over the letter writing
>>>> close-up. It is as much as 20 seconds off, and the music cues are in all
>>>> the wrong places. It is much like the scene in "Singing In the Rain"
>>>> where voices come out of the wrong person's mouths. The bassoon that was
>>>> supposed to be mocking the prima donna always came when other people
>>>> were on the screen. The music made no sense. It continues on to the
>>>> neighborhood walk and the entry into his family's apartment. The
>>>> mother's theme music was never there at the correct time. And the end of
>>>> the disc was clipped off when the "Blue Skies" reel begins. This had
>>>> never been wrong in previous issues and prints so someone really goofed
>>>> when the DVD was being assembled. But all of this has been fixed in the
>>>> Blu-ray, and the scenes and the music really make sense once again.
>>>> Almost all of the inter-titles are freeze-frames. They are noticeable
>>>> because all moving grain of the image stops cold. To disguise this they
>>>> wandered the image slightly in the DVD version. This fake motion was
>>>> supposed to emulate how titles look when the film continues to run, but
>>>> in 35mm theatrical prints this does not happen unless the film is worn.
>>>> The four sprockets per frame should keep the picture steady, unlike 16mm
>>>> where there is only one sprocket per frame and the image usually always
>>>> shakes. Saner heads prevailed this time, and the titles are kept steady
>>>> in the Blu-ray. (Again, if you had never noticed this in the DVD, now it
>>>> will bother you. Good! Mission accomplished!)
>>>> The book is easier to maneuver than all those separate booklets and
>>>> slip-cases of the DVD set. It is much easier to find the list of
>>>> contents of the discs because they are the last two pages of the book,
>>>> rather than being in one of four booklets that you never can find right
>>>> away. They still do not give you any info about the shorts other than
>>>> their title. None of the extras have their track number printed so you
>>>> can easily find which track they are on without having to go back to the
>>>> headers on the discs. You have to print this out for yourself from the
>>>> internet. Do be careful when removing disc three fromthe plastic holder
>>>> because there is an added lip that requires it being slid out further
>>>> than you might realize. But these are small nitpicks.
>>>> All in all, the original DVD was a bargain for all you got -- but this
>>>> Blu-ray set is even more of a bargain. It IS necessary to get even if
>>>> you already have the DVD set.
>>>> _______________________

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