Film: 4690

Animation | 1930 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

An animation about the process of recording films.

An audience in a cinema theatre looking at the screen; the film title on that screen. Light bulbs and "An Animated Cartoon Synchronised to Voice & Sound". Credits.

A hand draws a line across, one down from the right of the line, one from the left, and another joining them up at the bottom; film holes appear; the film starts flying around and curling, then turning around again and again, before wrapping up; it morphs into a boy, dots first appearing as eyes and mouth, the top of its head still film; he starts smiling, high noises coming, and then opening his mouth wide to the right, making low sounds; his adams apple goes up and down, and hen notes burst from his mouth, making sounds, fly out, and come back inwards as arms and legs; he moves his leg out and back, and then starts dancing; he moves his leg a long way up and then back down; moves his head around, and notes come out, making a circle; the black notes move around to the bottom of the screen to make a xylophone, while a few white notes fly up, becoming sticks, which he then picks up, playing a flourish, before playing individual notes; he then starts to play different variations of three notes at the same time; a rolled film reel with legs drops down on the boy, smashes the xylophone, jumps to the side, and gestures at the boy; the boy kicks the remains of the xylophone, which rolls up and off the screen; he makes angry gestures at the film, yelling about busting his act; the film gestures, and the caption at the top of the screen "Hello Talkie, sorry to butt in but where in the world did you get your VOICE?"; Talkie says that he got it from Dr Western, and that the silent film will never find a job as it is; caption "I've been out of work so long that I'll take a chance on anything"; Talkie says to go, and they hold hands and jump out of the screen.

They arrive outside a door which says "Dr Western, Film Surgeon, Voices Listed" on its glass window; Talkie knocks on the door, knocks again, and then smashes the window; looking sheepish, the two jump inside. The two of them in the room, the doctor working at a bench with machines; the doctor takes off his stethoscope and asks Talkie what's on his mind; Talkie asks the doctor to give the silent film a voice; the doctor walks over, and looks at the silent film, which is revealed to be called Mutey. The doctor's fingers tapping on his arm, as seen through a circle; the lumps get up and move up his arm; his right hand goes to tap the lumps down; the lump goes back; his hand goes back. The doctor holds something up, and says to Mutey that he runs on 60, and will have to change to 90; Mutey opens his mouth, and the doctor looks in; he steps back and says that Mutey has no soundtrack; the three of them fly off the screen.

The three of them on a film set with a park bench, lamp post and tree; film set lights are seen. Workmen constructing the set, two sawing wood, one hammering a nail. The doctor points at the stage and tells Talkie to put on an act; Talkie runs to the stage; the doctor yells and opens his mouth. An alarm bell; the hammer repeatedly hits it to ring. The workmen stop working, and look towards the camera. Talkie sings on the stage, moving his right hand backwards and forwards; the doctor turns around and shows Mutey a booth.

Inside the booth, seen through a circle, with the doctor and top of Mutey, as seen from the back, and a camera, inside; the doctor points at a hole through which the camera shoots; at a sound-proof booth; at a motor that the camera uses; he wipes his brow, tells Mutey to go out of the booth, and they duck down. A stick points at the bottom of the microphone; circles spin around behind. The doctor and Mutey jump inside the end of a wire. They go along it and are thrown out in a room with glass windows and a control panel with buttons and dials; the doctor points at the machine, and explains how sound is mixed to sound natural in this mixing room; he points at the window, then the end of the wire; he walks to the controls and sits down; he puts his hands to them. Seen through a circle, closer up, the doctor's hands move dials, and Talkie's voice as he performs changes as regards amplification.

The doctor takes his hands away from the dials; he gestures, and says he will show how sound is amplified; they crawl under a hole under the controls. A large machine like an old computer on a wall; the two of them walk through a hole in it; the doctor points at Mutey, then at the vacuum tubes on the machine; they jump through one of the tubes.

They go along a wire, and pop out at a machine on the floor, and crawl through a space under it; the doctor points at the machine used to record sound on the film, as Mutey runs to the left. Closer in; the doctor points to the sound film being recorded. In close-up; two metal strings stretched across a light valve; a light to the left; a film circling around to the right, as light makes holes in it. The film going from right to left, seen through a circle. Back to the close-up; a finger points at the light, then at the holes formed; the doctor explains how a photographic record of the voice is made. The doctor in front of the machine; he talks and winks. He points to the right, in front of the first view of the machine.

Through a circle, two film reels on a pole or a stick; the doctor looks between them to the camera; Talkie on the left, Mutey on the right. A negative; another film goes beneath it, and the sound record is printed; the picture film comes from the other side, and is printed, and then goes off; so the completed sound film is left.

The doctor points with a stick at the picture and sound projector, with Talkie and Mutey nearby. A close-up on a motor that drives both picture and sound. At the left, a lamp illuminating sound and film, which goes vertically at the middle of the screen; the light goes through a slit in a tube; to the bit that projects the film. The doctor points a stick at the projector; Talkie and Mutey stand by.

The cinema theatre from the beginning; wires come from the top, down to the screen. The doctor and Mutey on stage; the screen goes up, and a stage set is behind. A receiver connected to the horn. Dotted lines representing electrical vibrations move into and past it; past horizontal lines going past at an angle inside two other lines. The horn, circles signifying sound waves coming out of it. The screen comes down again, and the doctor points at it. An area of the screen seen through a circle; lots of dots. The doctor and Mutey fly off. They fly over and out of the cinema theatre.

They land at a projection machine with Talkie; the doctor tells Talkie to go on stage, and Mutey to get his voice, so they do this, Mutey flying off before Talkie does. Talkie on the screen in front of the audience. Mutey flies back in and talks, and leaps up and down; he does a dance and leaps about; the doctor tells Mutey not to go on stage, because Talkie is there; Mutey dives into the camera as Doc leaps to try to stop him. Mutey flies onto the screen. Mutey tries to upstage Talkie; he jumps about as Talkie gets annoyed; Talkie walks about in circles, then picks up Mutey, shuts him up, and suggests that they sing together; the background goes away and they sing, walk about, sing about rowing while making rowing gestures; they are then in a boat, rowing on waves, before a whale eats them; as its tail appears on screen, "The End".


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