Movies and Film: Some Sound Worth Hearing

Some Sound Worth Hearing

The following films provide a cacophony of sound options, from the critique of film noise provided by the kind of silent Modern Times to the incredible synthesis of music and camera work in Singin' in the Rain:

  • The Jazz Singer (1927). Well, if not the first sound film, at least the most famous, and a real product of its time.
  • Modern Times (1936). The most famous silent comedian of them all, Charlie Chaplin "sends up" sound films in this silent/sound hybrid.
  • Citizen Kane (1941). Orson Welles had just come from radio, so he was very aware of the possibilities of sound.
  • Sunset Boulevard (1950). Director Billy Wilder has star William Holden narrate the story from beyond the grave.
  • Singin' in the Rain (1952). Oh the woes of transitioning from silent to sound! A great musical.
  • American Graffiti (1973). George Lucas in 1970s helps invent 1950s retro. Keen music.
  • Silent Movie (1976). Totally silent Mel Brooks film, except one line, by French mime Marcel Marceau!
  • The Hunt for Red October (1990). How much tension can you build in submarine chase movie with just silence and those little sonar pings?

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Movies and Film © 2001 by Mark Winokur and Bruce Holsinger. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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