Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Which actress has the first female line in a talking movie? ( Answered,   6 Comments )
Subject: Which actress has the first female line in a talking movie?
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Movies and Film
Asked by: lpheleps54-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 25 Oct 2006 11:13 PDT
Expires: 24 Nov 2006 10:13 PST
Question ID: 776819
Which actress has the first female line in a talking movie? I found on
Wikipedia that Al Jolson had the male line, but I can't find any
record of which female was first?
Subject: Re: Which actress has the first female line in a talking movie?
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 25 Oct 2006 12:56 PDT
Hello Ipheleps54,

Eugenie Besserer was the first female to speak in a full length
talkie. She played Al Jolsen?s mother, Sara Rabinowitz in the  film
the Jazz Singer.

?354 words were spoken in total - 340 by Al Jolson, the star of the
film, 13 by Eugenie Besserer (playing his mother) and one by Warner
Oland (as his father) who said ?Stop?. Mother O?Mine was also the
FIRST record of a song from a movie.?

?1927  the first film to have dialogue spoken from the screen was Alan
Crosland?s The Jazz Singer which premiered at the Warner Theatre on
Broadway. ?

?Eugenie Besserer also makes history in her few spoken words on the soundtrack.?

Eugenie Besserer played	Sara Rabinowitz

The Jazz Singer Movie Script

Dialogue transcript of scene 224 from the finished film:

After an emotional reunion with his mother, Jack tells her about his
big  break and sings and plays for her Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies,"
the song  he's going to do in the show. After one chorus, Jack turns
from the piano  and speaks to his mother. Throughout this exchange her
replies and
protestations are heard very faintly and indistinctly. 
		Did you like that, Mama? 

		I'm glad of it. I'd rather please you than 
		anybody I know of. Oh, darlin', will you give 
		me something? 
		You'll never guess. Shut your eyes, Mama. Shut 
		'em for little Jakie. Ha. I'm gonna steal 
			(Kisses her. She titters.) 
		Ha, ha, ha, ha. I'll give it back to you some 
		day, too, you see if I don't. Mama, darlin', 
		if I'm a success in this show, well, we're 
		gonna move from here. Oh yes, we're gonna move 
		up in the Bronx. A lot of nice green grass up 
		there and a whole lot of people you know. 
		There's the Ginsbergs, the Guttenbergs, and the 
		Goldbergs. Oh, a whole lotta Bergs; I don't 
		know 'em all. And I'm gonna buy you a nice 
		black silk dress, Mama. You see Mrs. Friedman, 
		the butcher's wife, she'll be jealous of you. 

		Oh no--

		Yes, she will. You see if she isn't. And I'm 
		gonna get you a nice pink dress that'll go 
		with your brown eyes. 

		No, Jakie, no. I-I-I-

		What? Whatta you mean, no? Who is -- who is 
		telling you? Whatta you mean, no? Yes, you'll 
		wear pink or else. Or else you'll wear pink. 
			(He laughs.) 
		And, darlin', oh, I'm gonna take you to Coney 


		Yes, I'm gonna ride on the Shoot-the-Chutes. 
		An' you know in the Dark Mill? Ever been in 
		the Dark Mill? 

		Oh, no. I wouldn't go ...

		Well, with me, it's all right. I'll kiss you 
		and hug you. You see if I don't. 
			(Mother starts blushing.) 
		Now Mama, Mama, stop now. You're gettin' 
		kittenish. Mama, listen, I'm gonna sing this 
		like I will if I go on the stage. You know, 
		with this show. I'm gonna sing it jazzy. Now 
		get this ...
Jack launches into a few more lines of the song. He bangs at the 
keyboard with his right hand and turns to his mother.

		Do you like that slappin' business?

As he is singing the next part, his father enters in the background and 
cries out:


And the music (and the dialogue) stops ...

Jazz Singer Clip

This website provides a Jazz
Singer clip of four minutes duration as Jolson's character, Jakie
Rabinowitz, sings and talks to his mother played by Eugenie Besserer?

You will be able to hear Eugenie Besserer speaking.

Direct link to clip:

Search terms:

First talking OR talkie  actress words spoken 
Jazz Singer words 1927
Eugenie Besserer  spoken words Jazz Singer
354 words Jazz Singer
First actress

I hope the information provided is helpful!

Best regards,

Clarification of Answer by bobbie7-ga on 25 Oct 2006 13:57 PDT
According to the IMDB, in the movie Le Duel d'Hamlet1900) 'Sarah
Bernhardt' speaks, making her the first actress to speak in a film.

Clarification of Answer by bobbie7-ga on 25 Oct 2006 14:04 PDT
The Jazz Singer (1927)

Although it was not the first Vitaphone (sound-on-disk) feature, it
was the first feature-length Hollywood "talkie" film in which spoken
dialogue was used as part of the dramatic action. It is, however, only
part-talkie (25%) with sound-synchronized, vocal musical numbers and
accompaniment. [The first "all-talking" (or all-dialogue) feature
picture was Warners' experimental entry - the gangster film Lights of
New York (1928).Audiences were wildly enthusiastic when America's
favorite jazz singer.
Subject: Re: Which actress has the first female line in a talking movie?
From: probonopublico-ga on 25 Oct 2006 13:31 PDT
Oh dear, Bobby, you are SO wrong!

The actress with the first line in a talkie was Sarah Bernhardt in 'Le
Duel d'Hamlet' around 1900.

It was Sarah Bernhardt's film debut and apparently was accompanied by
a cylinder with recorded dialgoue.

Please see ID: 223173 for more info.

Al Jolson was evidently NOT the first male to talk in the talkies.
There surely must have also been a male talker in 'Le Duel d'Hamlet'.

Of course, The Jazz Singer did herald the age of the talkies but how
the talkies and Al Jolson's career prospered after this truly terrible
movie is amazing.


Subject: Re: Which actress has the first female line in a talking movie?
From: bobbie7-ga on 25 Oct 2006 13:58 PDT
Dear Bryan,

You're right!!!!
Thank you for letting me know.  I appreciate it.

Subject: Re: Which actress has the first female line in a talking movie?
From: pinkfreud-ga on 25 Oct 2006 14:11 PDT
I liked Bobbie's original answer. "Le Duel d'Hamlet" is only two
minutes long. I suspect that when most people think "movie," they are
thinking of a feature-length film.
Subject: Re: Which actress has the first female line in a talking movie?
From: myoarin-ga on 25 Oct 2006 14:23 PDT
"this truly terrible movie"

Your letting you cultural bias show.  Just because the first talkie
wasn't filmed in Ealing or Pinewood?

Myo, who grew up west of Suwannee  ("How I love you, ... my dear old Suwannee." :)
Subject: Re: Which actress has the first female line in a talking movie?
From: canadianhelper-ga on 25 Oct 2006 18:10 PDT
The problem is not the answer but the definition of 'talking movie' as
understood by the questioner.

There were differing technologies, some integrated on the film and
some using accompaning disks...
Subject: Re: Which actress has the first female line in a talking movie?
From: probonopublico-ga on 25 Oct 2006 21:53 PDT
I also liked Bobbie's Answer ... I like everything she does!

But I like it better now ...

I also like Jolson but NOT in The Jazz Singer ... His acting was so hammy. 

Columbia had the right idea when they made The Jolson Story with Larry
Parks doing the acting and Jolson doing the singing, except for the
long shot of Jolson singing 'Swanee' - which was superb.

Incidentally, Warner Oland's singing voice was dubbed by Cantor Joseff
Rosenblatt. Surely, the first ever dubbing? Even before Debbie
Reynolds provided the voice for Jean Hagen - except when Jean actually
performed the lines that Debbie couldn't handle.

Curiously, William Demarest appeared in both The Jazz Singer and The Jolson Story. 

Well done everybody!

A Great Question has brought a Great Answer and some interesting Comments.


Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy