Based upon extensive research on the marketing and reception of The Jazz Singer, the first “talking picture” and the hit movie of 1927-28, Judith Thissen sheds a different light on its enormous success at the box-office. She positions the Warner Bros. production in the broader context of the commercialization of the High Holidays and the efforts of Broadway picture palaces to attract Jewish holidaymakers by integrating Jewish elements into their shows around Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Judith Thissen

(Utrecht University)

 Ross Seminar Series in Yiddish Studies

Judith Thissen is Associate Professor of Film History at Utrecht University (Netherlands). Her research interests include US and European film exhibition, historical film reception, leisure history and Jewish-American studies. Her essays on early American cinema and Jewish immigrant culture in New York City have been published in Film History, Cinema Journal, Theatre Survey, and KINtop, and numerous edited collections including Going to the Movies: Hollywood and the Social Experience of Cinema (2007), The Art of Being Jewish in Modern Times (2008), Inventing the Modern Yiddish Stage: Essays in Drama, Performance and Show Business (2012) and Screen Culture and the Social Question, 1880-1914 (2013). Thissen is the coeditor of Contemporary Culture: New Directions in Arts and Humanities Research (Amsterdam University Press, 2013) and Cinema Beyond the City: Film Culture in Small-town and Rural Europe (forthcoming).

Moderator: Ellen DuBois

Sponsored by the:

UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies

Cosponsored by the:

UCLA Department of History