Synopsis by Paul Brenner
Pop singer Neil Diamond stars in this ill-begotten second remake of Al Jolson's seminal 1927 musical The Jazz Singer. The moth-eaten story concerns a cantor's son who desires success as a pop singer, despite the wishes of his imperious father. The film takes place in the present day with Yussel Rabinowitz (Neil Diamond) playing a young (though middle-aged looking) cantor performing at the synagogue of his father (Laurence Olivier). Yussel is married and has settled down to a life of religious devotion to the teaching of his fath. But on the side, he writes songs for a black singing group, and when a member of the quartet takes ill, Yussel covers for him at one of their gigs by wearing blackface! The nightclub engagement is such a success that Yussel abandons his family -- and his father's synagogue -- and leaves his New York home for Los Angeles, hoping to break into the music business. Almost immediately he is spotted by spunky agent Molly Bell (Lucie Arnaz), who books him as an opening act for a touring comic. Yussel hits it big, but his father resents Yussel's forsaking their traditional Jewish ways. His father disowns him, rending his garments and bellowing, "I hef no son!"
behind-the-scenes, conflict, family, heritage, Judaism, music, pop-music, religion, rock-music, show-business, songwriter, stage, stars [celebrities], tradition