Sunday, November 28, 2004

"After You're Gone" - Al Jolson

The last episode of the Singing Detective (1986,available on Netflix): a scarecrow pops up in Philip Marlowe's hospital ward singing this song in order to taunt him of his fears of being a cuckold like his father.

The chorus kicks in as various infirmed patients and nurses join in switching back and forth between the reimagined film noir and Marlowe's tormented visions of his wife and her supposed lover. Dennis Potter makes Jolson relevant again and a classic TV moment is born.

The series was remade into a movie that received some critical aclaim -- I haven't seen it but I understand the soundtrack is completely different and includes an entire disc of songs by the lead Robert Downey Jr!

From The Jolson Story Part 2


Anonymous said...

Funny -- I've loved this song ever since I heard it in All That Jazz where it's sung by various women to the Bob Fosse character. Had no idea it was originally Al Jolson.
One more reason I really need to get around to The Singing Detective one of these days! Thanks.

Jim H said...

No man can do pouty insouciance as Jolson can - you might say Bing Crosby but I never really sounds sincere, his delivery is too jokey. Jolson has a bit of the clown in him as well but its a much sadder and wiser clown, I think - listen when he delivers the line: "you'll miss the best friend that you ever had" - Jolson's song interpretation when combined with the imagery of DETECTIVE makes it truly creepy and morbid, which makes me like it even more...

yes, although he didn't write this song, Jolson was the first to popularize it (though not the last).