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John Mundy and Glyn White

The addition of synchronised sound to mainstream film between 1927 and 1930 required expensive changes in the technology of both production and exhibition, but the novelty of sound film brought box-office income on a scale that not only allowed the American industry to afford the rapid conversion of its studios and cinemas but also to make substantial profits in the early years of the

in Laughing matters
Christophe Wall-Romana

5 Documentaries and sound films Epstein’s filmography contains roughly an equal number of films that can be labelled fiction and documentary – a little over twenty in each category. This will likely come as a surprise to the many cinephiles who know him only as the filmmaker of La Glace à trois faces and La Chute de la maison Usher. Unfortunately, only two of Epstein’s documentaries are accessible outside of archives, and very little critical attention has been devoted to this substantial part of his œuvre.1 Indeed, in-depth research on the documentary work of

in Jean Epstein
An introduction
Author: Guy Austin

This book provides an introduction to French film studies. It concentrates on films which have had either a theatrical or video release in Britain, or which are available on video or DVD from France. Most avant-garde film-makers, including Germaine Dulac, were unable to continue in the 1930s, faced with the technical demands and high production costs of the sound film. Exacerbated by the Depression, and above all by the financial collapse of both Gaumont and Pathé, film production fell from 158 features the previous year to only 126 in 1934, and 115 in 1935. While poetic realism was at its height, a talismanic figure in post-war film was faced with a generally lukewarm reception from critics and audiences. Thanks largely to German finance and also to an influx of filmmakers replacing those who had departed, after 1940 French film. If 1968 marked a watershed in French cinema's engagement with politics and history 1974 did the same for representations of sexuality. In that year, pornography entered mainstream French cinema. Although film-making remains male-dominated in France as elsewhere, 'more women have taken an active part in French cinema than in any other national film industry'. A quarter of all French films made in 1981 were polars, and many of those were box-office successes. French fantasy has had a particular national outlet: the bande dessinée. The heritage film often takes its subject or source from the 'culturally respectable classicisms of literature, painting, music'.

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Don Fairservice

End of an era The event that traditionally marks the beginning of the sound era occurred on Friday 6 August 1926. On the evening of that day the very first commercially released synchronised sound film made by a major studio was premièred at the Warner Theatre on Broadway. The film was Don Juan , but it was really no different than many other ‘silent’ films made during the previous decade. Like them

in Film editing: history, theory and practice
John Mundy and Glyn White

sound film unleashed an influx of new comedians to supply verbal comedy and required silent film comedians to adapt, the new technology of the 1930s renewed and transformed the romantic comedy film into one of Hollywood’s staple forms. In some linear narratives of the history of film comedy, the romantic comedy arrives in the mid-1930s to supersede the anarchic, vaudeville-inflected sound comedy of the

in Laughing matters
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Andy Birtwistle

◂◂ Back to the future II 1935, 1937, 1940 The model of sound–image relations proposed by Eisenstein, Pudovkin and Alexandrov in The Sound Film: A Statement from the USSR (1928) was formulated as a reaction to the introduction of synchronous sound – a post-hoc theorisation offered in response to the

in Cinesonica
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Tom Ryall

in Britain. Like a number of British titles from that year it incorporated some synchronised sound, ‘6% dialog’ according to its review in Variety,33 and is sometimes regarded as British MUP_Ryall_02_Chap 2 38 7/26/05, 10:05 AM the formative years 39 Instructional’s first sound film.34 It was made during an uncertain period for the British industry with some commentators forecasting the shift to all-sound production that was to come whilst others considered the sound film to be a novelty or, less dismissively, as a form best suited to the short subjects

in Anthony Asquith
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Martin O’Shaughnessy

transition to sound Renoir’s early sound films were literary adaptations. In this, they followed the predominant pattern of French cinema of the period. Three brought hit boulevard comedies to the screen (On Purge bébé , Boudu sauvé des eaux, Chotard et cie). Two derived from successful novels (La Nuit du carrefour (1932), La Chienne). Madame Bovary partially broke the pattern by

in Jean Renoir
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Sound, signification and materiality
Andy Birtwistle

1920s. In The Sound Film: A Statement from the USSR, 6 Eisenstein, Pudovkin and Alexandrov wrote of the power of editing, ‘It is known that the basic (and only) means that has brought the cinema to such a powerfully affective strength is MONTAGE’ (Eisenstein, 1977b : 257), thereby celebrating the affective impact made on the spectator by film editing. Running through Eisenstein’s writing on cinema is a concern with the

in Cinesonica
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Don Fairservice

-dissecting practices that had been in place for many years. Framework for dialogue The shooting and editing principles that evolved through the 1930s, particularly with regard to the editing of dialogue, determined very largely how sound films would be edited internationally from that point on. Before considering the principles that underlie those practices with which we are now so familiar, it will be valuable to chart how shooting and

in Film editing: history, theory and practice