Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
August 25
October 6, 1927
The Jazz Singer has NYC premiere

On October 6, a day before Yon Kippur, Warner Brothers premiered what would become a breakthrough in film history––the first sound film with both musical and talking parts. The film was the collision of two separate movements. On the one hand, Warner Brothers, who had dabbled in sound pictures for the last few years, was being pushed by brother Sam to make an all talking, all musical film. Previously sound had being restricted to vaudeville shorts and to the musical background of features like Don Juan. On the other hand was the popularity of the stage musical The Jazz Singer, which George Jessel was starring in on Broadway. The two were brought together in the idea of a sound film version of The Jazz Singer. The story of a young Jewish cantor wanting to abandon his father’s tradition of sacred liturgical music for popular song was a story of a generational clash. That same clash was embodied in the idea of a sound film. As the film moved forward, changes occurred.  George Jessel would be out of the film, and the lead would go to the Al Jolson, the man on whom the character in The Jazz Singer was partially based. Just before it was to premiere, Sam Warner, the film's strongest proponent, died. But when the movie screened for the first time at the Warner Brothers theater in New York, it surpassed all expectations. Hardly an exceptional piece of movie making, the film created an uproar, especially when Jolson ad libbed at the start, “Wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothing yet,” Within months, the film had broken all sorts of box office records and forced the film industry, both studios and theaters, to face the future of sound film.


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Blacula August 25, 1972
Blacula opens

In the early 1970s, the breakout success of films like Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song and Shaft led to the start of the blaxploitation boom, and one of the most novel and interesting movies from this opportunistic genre was Blacula, a contemporary African-American take on the vampire story starring William Marshall as “Dracula’s soul brother,” released on this day in 1972.

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August 25, 1988
The Thin Blue Line released

Errol Morris's The Thin Blue Line, voted best film of the year by the Washington Post as well as the Mystery Writers of America, was released on August 25, 1988.

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25 August 1958
Tim's Big Adventure

Born in the Hollywood’s back yard, Tim Burton worked his way up the ladder film by film. Now he’s returning to his roots.

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