Beth Ertz playing Al Jolson's "April Showers"


Al Jolson and The Jazz Singer

Documentary about the world's first talking picture

Runtime: 85 minutes (GER, 2009)

Director: Andrea Oberheiden

Director Andrea Oberheiden:

"Jolson's appearance in The Jazz Singer, a film made in 1927, was able to captivate us as a new and modern audience in the year 2005.
We simply had to do something about this great,
great entertainer!"

Filmmakers Andrea Oberheiden and Jens Reinke

Al Jolson and the Jazz Singer

On October 6th, 1927 the Warner Bros. production "The Jazz Singer" had its premiere in New York City. The first talkie with dialogue revolutionized the film industry and marked the end of silent films. The story around the Jewish protagonist Jakie Rabinowitz, torn between tradition and modern spirit, and the success of the film are inseparably connected with the Jewish entertainer Al Jolson.

The film delivers an insight into the social and technical developments of the time, as well as into Jolson´s personal background; a history of the immigrants' search for identity in the "New World" at the beginning of the 20th century.


"Al Jolson was the most impressive entertainer on the American stage. Only a shadow of himself appeared in films." Charles Chaplin

July 10, 2009: Premiere at the Pumpe in Kiel! Kieler Neueste Nachrichten 1930
July 12, 2009: The Jazz Singer - for the first time in a movie theater in Kiel since 1930!

Die Pumpe

Coincidentally the movie theater Die Pumpe is located in the same street where the only remains of a synagogue in Kiel can be found.
The synagogue was built in 1869 and was not demolished during the Third Reich, because the Jewish Community had already moved to another synagogue in 1910.


Previous presentations: Cast:  
- Mae Volen Senior Center, Inc., Boca Raton/ USA (October 2, 2007)
- International Al Jolson Festival, Orlando/ USA (May 23, 2008)
- Jolson Society Meeting, Bromley/ England (October 19, 2008)
- Film competition "Tiefenschärfe", Kiel TV (November 15, 2008)
- Jolson Night, Adelaide/ Australia (April 4, 2009)
Director: Andrea Oberheiden
Producer: Andrea Oberheiden
Executive Producer: Jens J. Reinke
Camera: Andrea Oberheiden, Jens J. Reinke
Editor, Sound: Andrea Oberheiden
Technical Advisor: Jens J. Reinke
Music: Beth Ertz
  Narrator: Ben Posener

Screenings: Press Material:

– 50th Nordic Filmdays, Lübeck (October 29, 2008)
– Premiere: Communal Movie Theater Die Pumpe, Kiel (July 10, 2009)

- Winner at film competition "Tiefenschärfe", Kiel TV (November 15, 2008)




Al Jolson and the Jazz Singer