THE JAZZ SINGER (1927)
It’s arguably the most momentous and groundbreaking line of dialogue in the history of cinema. Alan Crosland’s 1927 film The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson as the son of a Jewish cantor who goes against his father to realize his dream of becoming a famous jazz singer, is noteworthy for being the first film ever with synchronized dialogue sequences—ushering in the era of “talkies” and bringing the silent-film era to an abrupt end (a moment explored in the upcoming film The Artist). While there are only a few hundred lines of dialogue, amounting to about two minutes in total, Jolson’s first spoken words in the film following the opening musical number, “Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet,” were, like much of the film’s spoken dialogue, entirely improvised by Jolson. The line is now viewed as highly symbolic, given Hollywood’s seismic shift from silent to talkies following the film’s release.