The Jazz Singer is a landmark of cinematic history, as the first feature-length film with synchronized dialog. Directed by Alan Crosland, it’s the story of a Jewish musician (played by Al Jolson) who defies his father’s wishes for him to carry on the family tradition of serving as cantor (liturgical singer) in their synagogue, instead defiling his God-given voice by performing secular music.
The film is somewhat controversial today for the fact that Jolson’s character performs in blackface, a racial caricature that was commonplace in popular entertainment of the day.
Released in 1927, The Jazz Singer should have entered the Public Domain at the end of 1983 (a few years after the release of the remake starring Neil Diamond and Laurence Olivier). Likewise, all of the songs in it would be PD, including “Blue Skies”. Some of the songs, including the traditional pieces, “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee”, and “My Mammy” are in the Public Domain because they were composed and published before 1923.