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The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution 1926-1930

Silence was golden — until 1927, when Warner Bros. released The Jazz Singer, with Al Jolson voicing the prophetic line ”You ain’t heard nothin’ yet.” According to this lively account by Scott Eyman, The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution 1926-1930, the immediate effect of the film’s success wasn’t panic but surprising apathy. While Warner and Fox Film forged ahead with sound, other studios stalled, thinking the public would tire of the novelty. Of course, they didn’t. The ensuing fallout, during which vocally impaired stars and obsolete directors and writers were culled from the industry, made for delightful comedy in Singin’ in the Rain. But the real story is actually a bit sad. B

The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution 1926-1930
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