Speed Of Sound

Paul Birchard reads five extracts from Scott Eyman's acclaimed account of one of the most turbulent periods in Hollywood history - the talkie revolution.


LB01The Jazz Singer19991026

In the late summer of 1927, the silent film was at the height of its aesthetic and commercial success. But in October, the release of `The Jazz Singer' was to change everything.


It may have been `The Jazz Singer' that in 1927 heralded the end of silent cinema, but talking films had been around for decades.


William Fox's Movietone, Warner Brothers' Vitaphone, and the battle for sound supremacy.

LB04Wally Beery Has A Voice! Wally Beery Has A Voice!19991029

As audiences flock to the talkies, the silent stars quail before the tyranny of the microphone.

LB05 LASTThe Romance Of Motion Picture Ends Here19991030

By 1930 the talkies have taken over. According to silent swashbuckler Douglas Fairbanks, `The romance of motion picture ends here'.