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

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9780684811628: The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution 1926-1930
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The author of Mary Pickford: America's Sweetheart provides an account of the bad and the good that happened in Hollywood after Al Jolson first opened ears in the Jazz Singer, the seminal film that led to the rise of new stars and a decline of the old ones. 12,500 first printing.

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Review:

Nowadays the "talkie" seems, like some other technological breakthroughs, to have obliterated its less-advanced predecessor, the silent movie, in one fell swoop. The reality, of course, is more complex. As Scott Eyman writes in his prologue to The Speed of Sound, "To examine this period of unparalleled industrial change, it is necessary to reverse the perspective, to give a fair, detailed idea of what silents were like to the people who made and watched them, and how talkies permanently changed the creative and personal equations." Eyman's eye-opening book fulfills this mission. He focuses on just five years--1926 through 1930--but tells the story on many levels. We learn about the technology, the details of actors' and technicians' lives, the elaborate business machinations associated with the rise of sound, and the resulting transformation of not just the movies but Hollywood itself. The Speed of Sound fills a gap in any film buff's library.

About the Author:

Scott Eyman is the Books Editor for The Palm Beach Post.

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