6.8/10
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Dickson Experimental Sound Film (1894)

Not Rated | | Short | 31 August 1894 (USA)
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.

Director:

William K.L. Dickson (uncredited)
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
William K.L. Dickson ... Violinist (uncredited)
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Storyline

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 <ssiferd@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 August 1894 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dickson Violin See more »

Filming Locations:

West Orange, New Jersey, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2003 release)

Sound Mix:

Kinetophone | Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Man: Are the rest of you ready? Go ahead!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Twentieth Century: The Movies Learn to Talk (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

The Chimes of Normandy
(1877) (uncredited)
(Originally called "Les cloches de Corneville (The Bells of Corneville)"
Written by Robert Planquette
Small section played on violin by William K.L. Dickson
See more »

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User Reviews

Burgess Shale
8 January 2006 | by tedgSee all my reviews

Some commentors note that this is of historic importance. But the point is precisely that it is not.

Film is like everything else, but moreso. It is what it is because of a process of evolution, accident, selfish urges and technology circumstance. Film affects us profoundly, indeed defines large parts of our lives. The unhappy fact is that what it makes in us is twisted by its past, how it got to us.

So our worlds have all sorts of legacies of its accidental past, just as our bodies have vestigial tails and gills. You just cannot be a person at all unless you know who you are, and part of that self-discovery is in understanding the snowball of cinema.

This isn't part of that snowball because the technology was forgotten, almost as if it never happened. Maybe if they worked late one night, if it hadn't rained, if a joke hadn't been so funny, it would have become part of the medium.

Then we would have avoided all that adventure in pantomime and shadow that forms the nervous system of our images today.

See this as a reminder of all the extinct possibilities that were pruned from what we have. Maybe it will help illuminate what wasn't pruned.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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