The Rise Of Sound Film Essay

1823 words - 8 pages

The Rise of Sound Film
The Jazz Singer is a well-known sign of a conversion from silent movie to sound. The Jazz Singer is the first synchronized sound film. Even more, The Jazz Singer is a sign of the decline of the silent film era. I determined the New York Times during 1927 as my mainly primary sources. The reason that I chose particular time is that it gives me a sense of how people thought about The Jazz Singer that time when it came out. I chose the New York Times in New York because it may delegate the mainstream newspapers in the US. My thesis would be why filmmaker keeps trying to add sound to film. Why people think The Jazz Singer in different ways. Why or why not people think The ...view middle of the document...

The quality of the sound was poor. Don Juan and The Better ’Ole used the Vitaphone in only synchronized instrumental score and sound effects. The Jazz Singer contains not only numerous synchronized singing but also some speech of dialogue. The Warner Bros chose George Groves as a recorder and Alan Crosland as a director who had previous experience of Vitaphone film: Don Juan and Old San Francisco. (Block and Wilson (2010), pp. 110–113.)

People thought the plot of The Jazz Singer was not astonishingly good, even kind of commonplace and tedious. However, the secondary source showed that people considered The Jazz Singer was a revolutionary and significant film in history. The Jazz Singer was still one of the three biggest box office hits when the film was originally released in 1927. Critical reaction was generally positive. New York Times critic Mordaunt Hall believed that,
not since the first presentation of Vitaphone features, more than a year ago [i.e., Don Juan], has anything like the ovation been heard in a motion-picture theatre.... The Vitaphoned songs and some dialogue have been introduced most adroitly. This in itself is an ambitious move, for in the expression of song the Vitaphone vitalizes the production enormously. The dialogue is not so effective, for it does not always catch the nuances of speech or inflections of the voice so that one is not aware of the mechanical features.
(Hall 1927)
The Jazz Singer was Samson Raphaelson’s play at first, aided by George Jessel’s performance. The play ended its Eastern tour at the Bronx Opera House on April 30th 1927. Thereafter he began to work on two pictures for the Warner Brothers, one of which would be a “screen version” of The Jazz Singer. The play was unusually successful.

It was not hard to find that the audience considered the play or drama as main entertainment in the early 20th century. The New York Times used most of the article to report the play before the film released. And, it called the film The Jazz Singer “picture version” or “screen version” instead of a film or movie. The Los Angeles Times called it “Vitaphone version.” It represented how mainstream ideology of people changed as movie industry flourished. The movie industry established star system to please individuals. “Movie moguls and studio executives consolidated their power over the American film industry, and exerted almost absolute control over all elements of film.” (Susan 3) In a highly free market economy in the US, movie industry developed particular markets to stabilize performance of box office. As developing, film industry was not “seen as only a step above carnivals and freak shows.”

“The Jazz Singer [definitely] scores a hit.” (Los Angeles Times) The premiere was set for October 6th, 1927, at Warner Bros’ flagship theater in New York. The success of The Jazz Singer related with the progress of technology. Comparing with another famous movie that we are familiar with Avatar, both of them gained...

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