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The Singing Kid

(1936 b 85')

En: 5 Ed: 4

A famous singer loses his voice, goes to the country, and falls in love with a writer and her niece, curing him so he can make a come-back.

Al Jackson (Al Jolson) sings a medley of his favorite songs. With Cab Calloway's orchestra Al sings "I Love to Sing." Babe (Jack Durant) and Dope (Frank Mitchell) try to write jokes for Al. Al tells his lawyer Bob Carey (Lyle Talbot) to buy a farm for him, and Bob gets money for Al's fiancé Dana (Claire Dodd). Chorus girls complain to Al about the dancing director's desires, and Al helps them. Al asks Bob to take Dana out. The four Yacht Club Boys as Romans sing the topical "My, How This Country's Changed." A doctor warns Al to slow down. In black face Al sings "The Swingin'est Man in Town" with Cab Calloway (and Wini Shaw). Al makes excuses to Dana, who says they're through. IRS agents question Al about his tax and say he owes $500,000. Radio reports that his lawyer Carey absconded with the money and Dana. Al pays the government and is cleared. Davenport (Edward Everett Horton) suggests that Al take a vacation. On stage Al coughs and can't sing. He fires Davenport and Joe Eddy (Allen Jenkins); but they refuse to quit.

Al, Davenport, and Joe go to the country and meet little Sybil Haines (Sybil Jason). Al and Davenport pretend to treat her doll. Ruth Haines (Beverly Roberts) drives up, and Al invites her and Sybil to stay on in the house. Joe plays jacks with Sybil. Ruth is writing a play. Sybil corrects Al's story of "Jack and the Beanstalk," and Al falls asleep. Al reads Ruth's play, as Davenport and Joe sleep. Al gets letters disliking the play. He writes a check to Barney Hammond (William B. Davidson), and Ruth gets a $500 check from Hammond. At a lake Al sings to Sybil "You're the Cure for What Ails Me;" she sings too, as do Davenport and Joe. They realize Al can sing and fall in the lake. Ruth finds out about the check and is humiliated. Al says he'll go.

On the radio Al sings "I Love to Sing." The Yacht Club Boys sing that Al should stop singing Mammie songs. They sing "Rhythm," but Al keeps coming back to "Mammie." Davenport tells Al that Carey was arrested, and Ruth won't answer his calls. Al tells Hammond that he has to go see Ruth, but Hammond says no. Ruth and Sybil come to see Al but can't get in, while Al calls and learns Ruth left. Al goes to the meet her train and finds her in a taxi. Cab Calloway sings for Al. Sybil tells Al and Ruth not to be angry, and they kiss. Al walks in singing with Ruth and goes on stage.

Jolson fans will find this entertaining even though it satirizes his style that is passing out of fashion. Another precocious little girl (a la Shirley Temple) adds innocent charm, and at last the jazz has an African-American orchestra with the talented Cab Calloway.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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