Strange as it might appear now, talking films were neither welcomed nor accepted universally, when they first appeared in 1920s, despite their novelty!

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In those days silent movies were highly respected. They were considered as the improved forms of the art of miming. Actors exaggerated their gestures and people belonging to any country could understand the story very well. There were no spoken dialogues and so no language barriers!


Sound in movies was thought to be a potential threat to the actorsí acting skills as well to the marketability of the movies. A language will limit the area where the movie could be shown and reduce the money that could be earned!


A number of experiments were tried to combine the sound and vision in a movie. A sound-on-the-film- process, in with the sound was actually recorded on the film, was demonstrated in London, in 1912, by Eugene Lauste.


By 1920s, sound-on-film was being used concurrently along with the films accompanied by records. In the years after the World War I, many short films were made both with music and dialogues.


On September 17th, 1922, Der Brandstifter, (The Arsonist) became the first talking movie shown to the audience, in Berlin. It was based on a play of the same name by Von Heyermann.


The film featured only 3 stars in the cast but one of them, Erwin Baron, played seven different parts!


Visalakshi Ramani