The Jazz Singer script
Synopsis: The Jazz Singer is a 1927 American musical film. The first feature-length motion picture with synchronized sound, its release heralded the commercial ascendance of sound films and the decline of the silent film era. Directed by Alan Crosland and produced by Warner Bros. with its Vitaphone sound-on-disc system, the film, featuring six songs performed by Al Jolson, is based on a play of the same name by Samson Raphaelson, adapted from one of his short stories "The Day of Atonement".

11.CLOSE-UP CANTOR

He peers into the room to see if his class is ready for him. He has some

difficulty in finding them. Finally he discovers them at the window. He

lifts his head as he hears the strains from the street piano, and a look

of disgust comes to him. He closes the door behind him and starts in

with a determined look.

11A.REVERSE SHOT BOYS

They are packed in the window, patched pants seats and legs only being

visible.

12.EXT. MED. SHOT

The Italian is now in front of the synagogue and is grinding out another

tune while the children dance about the discordant instrument.

13.INT. SCHOOL ROOM MED. SHOT

The four or five boys are jammed into the open window, some of them half

way out with feet sticking almost straight out backward. With determined

tread the cantor comes up behind them and starts yanking them out of the

window. They are badly frightened and duck as the cantor cuffs them

right and left.

14.FULL SHOT ROOM

The boys, some of them propelled from behind by the irate cantor,

scramble for their seats. The cantor starts to come after them, then the

strains of the music assault his delicate ear and he turns instead to

the window.

15.CLOSE-UP CANTOR

He takes hold of the window and yanks it down roughly as though he

cannot shut out the sound from without quickly enough. (Vitaphone music

quickly dimmed to just a faint sound.) Then he turns and faces the boys.

He looks them over, muttering to himself imprecations on the terrible

sounds from without -- an insult to his musically attuned ear.

16.MED. SHOT BOYS AND CANTOR

The boys straighten up with solemn looks on their faces as the cantor

looks them over scowlingly.

17.EXT. STREET OUTSIDE TEMPLE LONG SHOT

The Italian and his piano are disappearing in the distance, and a group

of boys are playing ball in the street. One is batting.

18.INT. CANTOR CLOSE-UP

He is looking at the boys as he says:

TITLE 3:
"Where is Jakie, my son?"

19.FULL SHOT ROOM

The cantor is in the foreground addressing the boys. As he finishes the

question one of the boys starts to answer it. The old man suddenly jumps

around and looks up in back of him.

20.CLOSE-UP WINDOW

There is a big round hole in the window.

21.CLOSE-UP CANTOR

He looks down at the glass on the floor, then stoops and picks up a ball

from the floor. He shakes his head ominously. He scowls at the kids,

then looks toward the door.

22.CLOSE-UP AT DOOR

It is opening cautiously and the black curly head of a boy of about

thirteen appears. He enters hesitatingly and fearfully of the possible

consequences.

23.FULL SHOT ROOM

The kids all look from father to son expectantly, each hoping that Jakie

will get a licking as soon as possible. The cantor comes toward the boy,

his brows knitted in a deep frown. Jakie starts toward his father

repeating, "I couldn't help it -- I didn't mean to hit it so hard --

honest I didn't." They meet in the center of the room, the boy still

protesting half tearfully. The old man brings back his arm as though to

strike him.

24.CLOSE SHOT BOTH

As the cantor brings back his arm, Jakie shuts his eyes and ducks, but

the cantor reconsiders and brings the hand down alongside without

striking the boy. He waves him to his seat on the bench with a half-

uttered threat to "fix him good the next time."

25.FULL SHOT ROOM

The cantor turns from Jakie with an impatient gesture and lines the boys

up for their lesson. He calls them to attention, then tells them to

listen to what he is going to sing. He walks to the piano and poises a

hand over the keys.

26.CLOSE-UP CANTOR

He strikes a note to give him the key he wants but the piano is

evidently out of tune. He shakes his head disgustedly, then takes an

old-fashioned tuning fork out of his inside coat pocket and strikes it

on the side of the piano, then holds it to his ear. He sings the note

and then indicates to the boys that they are to follow him as he sings.

27.MED. SHOT CANTOR AND BOYS

The cantor is singing and one of the boys is paying no attention. He is

looking around toward the window longingly. The cantor, still singing,

walks over to him and cuffs him on the ear.

28.CLOSE-UP CANTOR AND BOY

The boy ducks a second swipe. The cantor glares at him and demands that

he give his undivided attention to the lesson.

29.CLOSE SHOT OTHER BOYS

They are singing but taking in the scene on the side. They grin at each

other in joy at their companion's trouble, then they quickly turn their

eyes forward and sing more lustily as they feel the cantor's eyes on

them.

30.FULL SHOT ROOM

The cantor takes his place again. He shows his disgust with the manner

in which the boys are singing and, with an impatient gesture, he stops

and tells them to go home.

31.CLOSE-UP CANTOR

He waves them away, saying:

TITLE 4:
"Go now, you sound like crazy cats crying

already."

32.MED. SHOT GROUP

The cantor finishes his dismissal and as the boys, including Jakie,

start for the door, he stops his son. Jakie, with a crestfallen look,

follows with his eyes the disappearing figures of his playmates, who

quickly exit. His father calls him and he comes opposite him and looks

up rather sullenly for the scolding he expects.

33.CLOSE-UP CANTOR AND SON

The cantor looks down at Jakie with a scowl and starts berating him. He

points to the window and his anger again rises. Jakie starts backing

away as though expecting violence. The old man gets himself together and

his attitude changes from anger to sadness. He says to the boy:

TITLE 5:
"A fine cantor you are going to be -- smeshing

synagogue windows yet!"

The boy looks up at him with an effort, which reflects something of the

length of time he has thought about this unpleasant future. He blurts

out:

TITLE 6:
"But Papa, I don't want to be no cantor."

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Alfred A. Cohn

Alfred A. Cohn (March 26, 1880 – February 3, 1951) was an author, journalist and newspaper editor, Police Commissioner, and screenwriter of the 1920s and 1930s. He is best remembered for his work on The Jazz Singer, which was nominated for (but did not win) an Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay in the 1st Academy Awards of 1929. Cohn was born in Freeport, Illinois but subsequently moved to Cleveland, Ohio where he began work as a newspaper editor and journalist. He then moved to Galveston, Texas where he ran a newspaper. more…

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"The Jazz Singer" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 19 Nov. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/the_jazz_singer_878>.

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