GenreComedy, Musical Duration CountryUnited States
WriterIrving Berlin, James Gleason, Joseph Jackson, Gordon Rigby Release dateMarch 26, 1930 (1930-03-26) ScreenplayIrving Berlin, James Gleason, Joseph Jackson CastAl Jolson (Al Fuller), Louise Dresser (Mother Fuller), Lois Moran (Nora Meadows), Lowell Sherman (Billy West), Hobart Bosworth (Meadows), Tully Marshall (Slats) Similar moviesBirdman, Pitch Perfect 2, Frozen, Aladdin, Grease, Tangled
Al Fuller (Al Jolson), star of a blackface minstrel show traveling the Southern circuit, falls in love with the beautiful Nora Meadows (Lois Moran), daughter of the struggling troupes owner (Hobart Bosworth). Noras heart belongs to master of ceremonies Billy West (Lowell Sherman), despite his skirt-chasing ways, but the jealousy of another member of the troupe leads to tragedy. Irving Berlin wrote the songs, as well as the stage play, "Mr. Bones," upon which the film is based.
Mammy (1930) is an American Pre-Code talkie musical drama film with Technicolor sequences, released by Warner Bros. The film starred Al Jolson and was a follow-up to his previous film, Say It With Songs (1929). Mammy became Al Jolsons fourth feature, following earlier screen efforts as The Jazz Singer (1927), The Singing Fool (1928) and Say It With Songs (1929). The movie relives Jolsons early years as a minstrel man. The songs were written by Irving Berlin, who is also credited with the original story titled Mr. Bones.
Mammy features Al Jolson as the star of a travelling minstrel show, appearing in a small Southern town. Jolson falls in love with an actress in the troupe (Lois Moran), but she loves another. One of Jolson's fellow minstrels (Lowell Sherman) is shot backstage, and it is assumed thanks to several plot convolutions that Jolson is guilty of the deed.
The story deals with the joys and tribulations of a travelling minstrel troupe known as the Merry Meadow Minstrels. Al Jolson plays as a blackface endman while Lowell Sherman plays as the interlocutor. Hobart Bosworth plays as the owner of the show, while his daughter, played by Lois Moran, serves as Al Jolsons love interest in the picture. Shermans character, however, is also in love with Morans. The show is in a miserable state until Jolson entertains a sheriff and manages to convince him to invest in the show. The show becomes very successful thanks to this investment and Jolson is eventually able to visit his mother. Some time after he returns, he tells Moran that he loves her and this causes Sherman to become jealous. After a heated argument between Jolson and Sherman over Moran, a character played by Mitchell Lewis, who is upset because he was caught cheating at cards, puts real bullets in Jolsons stage gun. Since Jolson pretends to shoot Sherman in the minstrel show act, Lewis knows that this will result in Shermans death and that Jolson will be blamed for the murder. After Sherman is shot, Jolson is arrested but manages to escape and take a freight train out of town. Eventually, Lewis confesses to the crime and Jolson is thereby proven to be innocent.
Al Jolson as Al Fuller
Lois Moran as Nora Meadows
Lowell Sherman as Billy West / Westy
Louise Dresser as Mother Fuller
Hobart Bosworth as Meadows
Tully Marshall as Slats
Mitchell Lewis as Hank Smith / Tambo
Jack Curtis as Sheriff Tremble
"Let Me Sing and Im Happy"
"Here We Are"
"Who Paid the Rent for Mrs. Rip Van Winkle?"
"The Knights of the Road" (missing on surviving prints)
"The Call of the South" (missing on surviving prints)
"Yes, We Have No Bananas"
"Across The Breakfast Table, Looking At You"
"In the Morning"
"Night Boat to Albany"
"When You and I Were Young, Maggie"
"To My Mammy"
The original Technicolor sequences were found in a Dutch print (a copy of the International Sound Version) which had Dutch titles inserted in several places. This print was restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, and released on DVD from the Warner Archive Collection, along with its Overture and Exit Music. Unfortunately, sections of those Technicolor sequences were lost when Dutch titles were inserted, and some of the cuts from color to sepia tinted black and white are not smooth. Additionally, two songs are missing from all existing prints that were in the original release: "The Call of the South" and "Knights of the Road". They were written by Irving Berlin and sung by Al Jolson.