Analysis Of Alan Crosland 's The Jazz Singer

1831 Words Aug 25th, 2015 8 Pages
Ethnic and racial relations in 1920s America can be broadly categorised into movements of racial conflict counterpoised against notions of cultural hybridity. Specifically, though Americans of all ethnicities ultimately contributed to the new cultural landscape of America, and the very definition of ‘American’ was broadened and made more inclusive, separation and conflict between racial groupings was widespread, and integration and homogenisation never fully materialised. Alan Crosland’s The Jazz Singer (1927), notability as the first film to feature scenes with synchronised sound aside, is demonstrative of this relationship between racial conflict and cultural hybridity. The 1927 Al Jolson star vehicle’s depictions of the struggle between Jewish traditionalism and the allure of the stage, absence of African-American representation, and cinematic link forged between the Jewish and African-American experiences as racial outsiders, sketches an example of the contemporary cultural exchange which was newly minted in America’s Jazz Age.
At its core, The Jazz Singer is ostensibly a Jewish-American story. The central conflict is Jakie Rabinowitz’s heritage, family, and upbringing coming to a head with his chosen career and where his heart lies: performance in an American pop cultural milieu. A reading of the film suggests that although hybridity can be found between the old and the new; the traditional and the modern; they are fundamentally in conflict with each other and cannot…
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