Seeing one of the early sound movies, this film reviewer did not find it odd in the least as to why the audiences laughed uproariously while listening to perfectly ordinary dialog during the viewing of one of Hollywood's newest offering "War Nurse" (directed by Edgar Selwyn):
"It was not so much [that they chortled] at these isolated bits of dialogue that the audience laughed, as it was a resort to laughter caused by the absurdity ceaseless chatter that prevails throughout the entire production."
From Amazon: Shattered Silents: How the Talkies Came to Stay
Assorted quotes addressing some aspects of the 1930 Hollywood and the entertainment industry seated there. Some are prophets who rant-on about the impending failure of talking pictures, others go on about the obscene sums of money generated in the film colony; a few of the wits are well-known to us, like Thomas Edison, George M. Cohan and Walter Winchell but most are unknown - one anonymous sage, remarking about the invention of sound movies, prophesied:
"In ten years, most of the good music of the world will be written for sound motion pictures."
Attached are excerpts clipped from a few British papers condemning all efforts made to produce the earliest talking pictures; one snide reviewer went so far as to insist that rather than calling the films "talkies", they should be referred to as "dummies":
"The majority of films in the future will be made stupidly for stupid people, just has been the case with the silent movies for twenty years...It is possible that a few talking pictures of an interesting, experimental sort will be made to be shown before superior audiences in the small and special cinemas which are beginning to be built in the larger American cities."
•Read About the First Talkie Movie Star•
New York theater critic Howard Barnes contributed some bitter-sweet words about the earthquake that was taking place within the entertainment industry called "Talkies". Ultimately he believed that there was a future for sound movies, but as of 1931, the momentum was still on the stage insofar as genuine, thought-provoking entertainment was concerned. Nonetheless, he recognized that Talkies were changing everything in Hollywood:
"To a regular cinemagoer in the era of silent films, attendance at the motion-picture playhouse today is a continuously disturbing experience...The discovery that the shadowy images of the screen could be made articulate was as fruitful for exploitation to the captains of the cinema industry as was the realization that women would wear long skirts to the couturiers. ...Paramount alone has already announced 243 releases for next season, double the number issued this year, and other companies are following suit."
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There can be no doubt that at some point between the appearance of this brief notice and the release of "Gone with the Wind", culture critic Gilbert Seldes (1893 - 1970) was won-over to the side that believed sound-movies were the way to go- but in 1929, he wasn't buy'n it.
*Watch a Film Clip About the Revolution of Sound in Movies*
The oddballs who read old Hollywood magazines from the year 1929 seem to all be in agreement that these magazines all shared the same frenzied, enthusiastic energy; something new and wonderful and unpredictable had been introduced and it was going to cause an enormous shake up in every movie capitol under the sun: sound.
"But it was in the past year that the newest art, that of the silent drama, like prehistoric Man, stood up on it's hind legs and began to talk. Like prehistoric man, it talked badly at first. But soon it's words came a shade more fluently, and gradually they began, when arranged, to make a small degree of sense".
Read about the first "talkie movie star": Mickey Mouse...