Going To The Pictures

Silent films – then sound comes to the cinema

In the 1930’s an innovation in the world of film and cinema had come about – sound cinema or “Talkies” The first feature film presented as a talkie was released in 1927 ‘The Jazz Singer’ The film was a huge success and gave way to the start of a major change for cinemas, new cinemas or talking houses were built and existing cinemas had to be fitted with new sound equipment. The innovation of sound in film helped to secure Hollywood’s place as one of the leaders in the worlds film industry thereby becoming a powerful commercial and cultural force within the world.

Before the invention of sound for films sub titled words would appear on the screen within the film to help tell the story.

Silent film stars would dazzel the silver screen unbeknown to them that for many, the coming of sound would see the end to their film careers, as clarity of voice became an important factor for diectors and producers of films embracing this new technology.

Many cinemas would have live music to accompany the film and help dramtise and pace the film. Some cinemas had pianoes or an organ, other would house full orchestral musicians which were an integral part of the film shows.

With the increase of sound and talking films at the cinema many Picture House musicians and orchestras found that their services were no longer required. The once important role they played at the cinema accompanying the film was replaced with a sound track.