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The Introduction of Sound in Motion Pictures

Posted on June 6, 2019 by Tracy Vile

From the mid-1920s, the movie industry had fulfilled its new rival: the radio. Due to it, a great deal of people stopped going to the movies and the film industry was threatened. Amazingly however, scientists in america and overseas had simultaneously discovered a way to add sound to silent pictures. This discovery could save the movie industry. The first sound pictures created were short films of concert performances. The movie produced music and sounds of the actors which thrilled the audience very much. The people began returning to the films.

But it wouldn't be until October of 1927 with a movie called The Jazz Singer that the chances of audio were revealed. The Jazz Singer starred Al Jolson and had three song numbers and a couple of lines of spoken dialogue. Besides these, it was a silent movie but the crowds were raving over it. The Jazz Singer was known as the film that"talked" and was known as a"talkie". The film fascinated thousands and packed the theaters. The radio had met its match.

With the success of The Jazz Singer, the entire transition from silent to all-talking films would take over a year. The delay was due to a lot of technical issues. The equipment had to be perfected and the audio projectors and soundtracks needed to be standardized so that movies can be shown in most theaters. Then, the theaters had to be set up with the audio projectors. Additionally, talking films introduced a new set of issues concerning writing, acting and directing. The authors had to write dialogs and the actors had to learn how to state them. To solve this issue, stage playwrights and top-of-the-line dramatic authors were recruited to write the dialogue. Stage directors were rushed in from New York to direct the actors who largely didn't know how to speak in their roles. It was that lots of romantic leading men had squeaky voices and their leading ladies didn't have alluring voices. The growth of sound pictures became the conclusion of a lot a silent screen stars. Additionally, it resulted in the fall of the fantastic pantomime comics.

Sound images were made into musical comedies. The Coconut in 1929 introduced the four Marx Brothers. They brought a new kind of noisy farce. This brand of humor depended much on the comedy of the dialogue and the art of pantomime. All these madcap comedians however eventually faded. A new type of comedy was designed to fill the void left by the comedians. They introduced speaking pictures called sophisticated comedy which put wise men in unexpected circumstances. Memorable actors in these roles were Carole Lombard, Irene Dunne and William Powell.

Soon after the creation of audio films came the gangster pictures. The first gangster movies were motivated by prohibition racketeering. Films like Little Caesar of 1930 and Public Enemy in 1931 had violent melodramas that introduced a harsh reality to the crowd. These films introduced a fresh batch of manly celebrities with the likes of James Cagney, Edward Robinson, Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable.

Following the gangster movies, movies in various genres were made. With this began the Golden Age of Sound. Shown on the displays were fine dramas, comedies and action-adventure movies. Also strong were the musicals with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy operettas and the dance team of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as the favorites.