Silents in the 1920s had fluidity and range that was roped in by Talkies – suddenly scenes with dialogue were boxed in, restricted, and stagey because of sound technology.

Sound recording, 1928 –

Microphone and lights adjusted on set, 1928 –


  1. Phoeby Dinsmore: [giving Lina diction lessons] Repeat after me – Tah, Tey, Tee, Toe, Too.
    Lina Lamont: Tah, Tey, Tye, Tow, Tyo.
    Phoeby Dinsmore: No, no, no Miss Lamont, Round tones, round tones. Now, let me hear you read your line.
    Lina Lamont: And I cayn’t stand’im.
    Phoeby Dinsmore: And I can’t stand him.
    Lina Lamont: And I cayn’t stand’im.
    Phoeby Dinsmore: Can’t.
    Lina Lamont: Cayn’t.
    Phoeby Dinsmore: Caaaan’t
    Lina Lamont: Cayyyyn’t

  2. This is why a number of movies shot in the late 1920s-early 1930s were reshot a while later when sound technology became more flexible, and that boxiness or staginess could be avoided. It’s interesting to compare the 1930 version of Holiday, for example, with the 1938 one.

  3. By the way… on December 6-7 the San Francisco Symphony will be presenting “Singing In The Rain”. The entire orchestra is going to be playing along!! I just may go for my …birthday!! Next Saturday (November) I am going to see “The Best of Hitchcock” at the sympony. They will be playing excerpts from Strangers on a Train, Dial M For Murder, To Catch a Theif and North by Northwest with the ochestra providing the music. I can’t WAIT! (Vertigo and Psycho were sold out…boo hoo)

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