Media | 1940 | Sound | B/W
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History of the studios in Hollywood from turn of century to the 1940's. Excellent film making shots, studios, audiences, early record players, phonographs.
The story of sound in pictures.
Opening credits with music.
A scene from “Yankee Doodle Dandy” winner of 1942 Academy Awards, James Cagney singing and dancing surrounded by female dancers in music hall costumes (long dresses and big feathery hats).
Conical flasks bubbling away with steam coming out of the top. Sequence of stills. Wires and an amp (possibly). Silver sphere with electric currents. Male arm holding long tweezers, operating an electronic circuit board (possibly). A church interior with shards of light coming through the stained glass windows. Washington’s farewell to his troops. Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. Roosevelt’s speech. Close up of an egg-timer. French scientist Leon Scott operating early sound equipment. Thomas A. Edison turning a sound machine that was to revolutionise sound by reproducing a voice. Male hand turning a handle on a cylinder of a machine. Back to Edison turning a handle on a piece of sound equipment with people crowding round looking perplexed. Two men, one of whom is probably George Easton (who invented the stripfilm) turning a handle on a box-like piece of equipment. Scene of London with Tower Bridge to the right of the screen. Eugene Losting (unsure of spelling of surname) – who conceived the idea of printing sound on film –is turning a cylinder on a worktop. Model theatre set of a rotating house with trees painted on the background, the Black Mariah was the first motion picture studio built on a turntable so that it could follow the sun; this is the place where Edison experimented and married sound and pictures together creating the kinetoscope.
Arcade sign “Raff & Gammen’s Entertainment Arcade offers the world’s first moving pictures with sound to match”. A man moves into the centre of the scene where another man is listening through a receiver on an early ‘juke box’ style machine (kinetoscope) with text “songs, tunes Latest Music” he puts the receiver down and walks off with a scornful look on his face. Close up of an audio tube pulls out to show a scientist sitting at a desk surrounded by wires and conical flasks and an audio tube at which he adjusts the volume. Street scene with stationary cars, more cars drive into the frame. Aerial views of Warner Studio........Sam Warner and sound expert Major N Levinson.........
Silhouettes of male figures standing by lights in a film studio watching the activity on the set. A film director (probably Warner) speaking into a conical megaphone and next to him a cameraman and other men. Three men, one operating a film camera looking to the left out of view.
Outside filming with cast and lighting next to a tree. Back to silhouettes of male figures in film studio. Shot of Sam Warner. Two men at a ?2:46
Warner bros sat in front of a cast with a script in their hand and a cameraman to their right. Another shot of a cameraman and other crew in a film studio. A camera/light on a pulley rope ?2:51
A man operating some knobs on what appears to be a sound desk. Outdoor shot of a camera operating on a set of tracks/wheels. Man operating knobs. Two men looking at a photographic negative. Two cameramen seated at their equipment with a man winding up some film spool. A pair of hands putting a film reel into the camera. Crowd scene with moving cars in foreground. NYC on 6/8/26 people seated for the first viewing of a film with musical score. Close up of programme for ‘Don Juan’. Shot of John Barrymore as Don Juan. Sequence from the film with Don Juan walking through a big hall, with a boy, towards a lady at a piano. Audience sat watching a film with the NY Philharmonic Orchestra playing. Shot of Variety newspaper front cover with headline “Jolson signed by Warner’s” for his role in The Jazz Singer. Outside of Warner’s Theatre with Al Jolson appearing in The Jazz Singer. Crowd scene with passing cars. Audience seated in auditorium. Old woman and Jolson are sat talking, then he starts singing Blue Skies whilst playing the piano. (5:01)
Montage of hands applauding. Sam Warner’s headstone at which a man’s hand lays a wreath. Crowd of people filming. A hand turning knobs. A busy film set with a director taking a seat in his director’s chair. A microscope lens. A light on a pulley. A record on a turntable. A newspaper headline in Variety for the first all-talking picture. Outside the Warner Theatre the sign “The Lights of New York - the first talking picture”. Famous barber shop sequence from “The Lights of New York”. Ethel Waters singing “Am I Blue” from the 1929 film “On With The Show”. Audience shot. Back to singer. Programme cards with actors’ names and film titles: Edwin Booth in Hamlet; Sarah Bernhardt in Camille; Richard Mansfield singing Peer Gynt; Maude Adams in Peter Pan; David Warfield in Music Master. John Barrymore soliloquy scene from Richard III. Sequence of the first outdoor scenes from films. (9:30) Two actors in a scene from Disraeli. Snippet from Louis Pasteur science saga. Film about Émile Zola. Silver curtain glides past. Synchronised swimming sequence montage. Curtains open on stage for Bette Davis to take a bow to applauding audience. Bette Davis and male actor in a scene from “Dangerous” 1936 for which she won an Academy Award. Documentary footage of newsreel, war explosions, aircraft, canons. Scene from “Sgt York” in English, then in French, then Italian. Shot of an army ship. Shot of the sea from the side of the ship. Sea and army fleet in the distance. Tanks. Cinema foyer in Russia. Cinema foyer in India. Cover of “Life” magazine with photo of troops, inside the cover a war article. Soldiers on ramp by a cockpit. Army training sessions using films made in cooperation with the American army. Aerial shot of a missile dropping on some trucks and an explosion. Shot of Mussolini. Soldiers by a cannon. Plane falling from the sky with smoke coming from its wing. Schoolhouse with parked car outside. Interior of schoolhouse with children sitting at their desks. Historical film of Congress July 4th and Declaration of Independence paper to teach of past events.
Camera scans past a row of Oscar statuettes. Crowd of people sat at an award ceremony. A table with Oscar statues on it. Close up of Oscar statuette. “Yankee Doodle Dandy” film poster. Film sequence of James Cagney marching on stage with female dancers holding American flags and singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag”. American Flag projected on closed stage curtains. The End.
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