The sound has been found in the form of an old Edisonian recording cylinder. The cylinder was repaired, then Walter Murch ACE MPSE synced the film to the correct music in (I believe) 2002. Total running time is approximately 17 seconds.
The earliest extant sound film. William K.L. Dickson stands in the background next to a huge sound pickup horn connected to a Thomas Edison phonograph recorder. As he plays a violin, two men dance in the foreground. This film was made to demonstrate a new Thomas Edison machine, the Kinetophone. These machines were Kinetoscope peepshow viewers mated with Thomas Edison wax cylinder phonographs. But the Kinetophone never caught on and this film was never released. The film still exists, but the phonograph soundtrack has been lost. Written by
Steven W. Siferd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The synchronized sound version was restored in 2000 by Walter Murch, Rick Schmidlin, Industrial Light and Magic, and Skywalker Sound which is a division of Lucas Digital, Ltd., LLC (a George Lucas company) in collaboration with the Library of Congress and the Edison National Historic Site. See more »
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Might be the first sound experience on film but it's not the real thing
Good film historians are right in not calling this experiment as the first sonorous picture. It's just like flight of Icarus, it's a almost there kind of thing. And I wonder who watched this back in 1894 since this wasn't released at all.
The sound of a violin is the one featured here and it was captured by a cylinder, most precisely an Edisonian recording cylinder, that was repaired and synced by the great editor Walter Murch (of "Apocalypse Now" fame). 17 seconds of a guy playing a violin and two other guys dancing together, cheek to cheek, enough reason for much controversy among dull viewers. The whole discussion about them is pointless, just look at the time this was made, things were different and even now there's nothing wrong with that.
We can't possibly know if what Murch made in 2002 was close to the effect the unknown director made in 1894 but what we have is an incredible sound perfectly matched with the images, and this was way before "The Jazz Singer" (1927) placed his mark on films as the first talkie.
It's just an experiment, a trying and a good one. 7/10
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