Neil Diamond performed in Johannesburg the other day and is on his way to Durban and Cape Town. What does this have anything to do with movies? Well, of course Mr. Diamond has made a contribution to the film business at least once in his life. Hence The Jazz Singer, brought out in 1980 as an American musical remake of the 1927 classic.
The film can most effectively be described as the story about the son of a Jewish cantor (Neil Diamond) who, against his father's traditional wishes, becomes a jazz aka pop singer. This release and its ambiguous 'success story', for me defines the equally doubtful ongoing star-status of Neil Diamond. The Jazz Singer (1980) received mixed reviews; contempt towards it were not unanimous, to put it lightly. However it made more money at the box office than other Academy Award nominees such as Raging Bull and The Elephant Man. It has also been said that Diamond received a nomination for the Golden Globe Best Actor. Yet he was given the Razzie Award for Worst Actor. Is this suppose to comply? Considering Neil Diamond is a singer 'at heart', the 'success' of this film might only be because of its alluring soundtrack, reaching multi platinum status, inevitably one of Neil's most successful albums to date.
To end by saluting or rather cheering Diamond from the film industry would be reenacting something that has already been done. Luckily South Africa needn't fear - Diamond certainly isn't here for a screenplay.