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Candlestick Phone

The First Talkies

I've been watching a number of movies that TCM has on in the wee hours of the morning. Particularly those made in 1930 - or late 1929. The first round of sound movies.

Sound, dialog and scripts for sound film were all primitive compared to films made only a few years later. The great silent actors were all gone, most having thick accents. Very few did like Charles Chaplin and made the jump to sound.

Likewise, none of the great sound film actors had yet emerged, and scriptwriters were still figuring out how to write for sound. The acting is universally bad, so are the scripts. Virtually all of them are rated two, or even 1 1/2 stars (by whoever it is that decides that stuff) None of the names I see in movies from 1930 appear again in anything after 1931.

These movies belong in a class by themselves.

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ruggels December 31st, 2005
I've seen a couple, very few, but yeah, staccatto line delivery, Nearly shouting, and Cameras all locked down showing folks from the legs up, and nearly no closeups. really stagey.


titanic December 31st, 2005
One thing I left out that I noticed last night was that they hadn't yet figured out that background music was useful. Between lines of dialog there is only the sound of optical soundtrack static.....

ruggels December 31st, 2005
Yup, The Hal Roach Studio figured that our fairly quickly and had music tracks laid in on the Laurel & Hardy shorts,and then later the Little Rascals. Laurel & Hardy was one of the few comedy teams that made the transition to the talkies.


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