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7/10
Warners Brothers\Turner entitles batches of old trailers for modern film buffs!
tadpole-596-91825615 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
There's nothing like having a narrator such as Dwight Weist in WHEN TALKIES WERE YOUNG or Robert Osborne on RENDEZVOUS WITH BOGART (or some similar such title) say a sentence or two between half a dozen or a dozen decades-old movie previews, throw on a clever title, and have it listed for posterity as a page on this site. While Osborne tries to explain how Warner Brothers shaped Humphrey Bogart's film career with each contemporary preview done for a Bogie outing on the big screen, "Weist is least" comparatively speaking on this more general montage of five 1950s trailers. But its the over-the-top subtitles filled with can't-miss superlatives coupled with a gonzo-voiced male narrator that is the big kick offered by these dated movie previews to begin with. Seeing notable actors such as James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis, Edward G. Robinson, Boris Karloff, Clark Gable, John Barrymore, and Marion Marsh simply adds to the fun of this 20 minute, 22.55-second DVD bonus feature.
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3/10
Not even close to being complete or worth your time.
MartinHafer22 January 2010
This short film was produced and written by Robert Youngson--a man who gained notoriety with his compilations of the early history of film comedies--such as THE GOLDEN AGE OF COMEDY and WHEN COMEDY WAS KING. Each of these films consisted of silent clips that were accompanied by narration.

This film is different from Youngson's more famous compilations because comedy is NOT the theme. Instead, it's about early sound films--with a particular emphasis on the early films of the major Warner Brothers stars of the 1930s. The film was NOT a chronological or exhaustive history of such films, but was more designed to feature current stars (as of 1955). A lot of actors whose careers had ended years before were pretty much ignored--and it was, in many ways, an ad for Warner Brothers films. Featured actors are Jimmy Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Edward G. Robinson and others.

Because the film is not a perfect or complete history of early sound stars, it's interesting but not all that important. Film experts will be left wondering why some actors were ignored while others were featured. Of all the extras included on the second of three DVDs in "The Jazz Singer" set, this is by far the weakest and least interesting.
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Jazz Singer Disc 3
Michael_Elliott27 February 2008
Voice from the Screen, The (1926)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Historically important yet deadly dull documentary was made by Vitaphone and Warner so that they could explain how they were going to add sound to movies. The man talking and explaining all of this is deadly dull, which leads to a pretty boring short but he also explains everything in circles, which makes the information quite confusing as well.

Finding His Voice (1929)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Co-directed by Max Fleischer, this cartoon short has an animated figure learning how to speak on film. Once again, the main purpose here is to explain how sound has been added to film and this one here is pretty entertaining and it also doesn't take itself too serious, which makes it easier to understand.

Voice That Thrilled the World, The (1943)

*** (out of 4)

Documentary short about how sound came to movies and what it has led to. This Warner short features clips from many of their films and really centers on Yankee Doodle Dandy since it had just won the Oscar for Best Sound. We also get clips from The Jazz Singer, Don Juan and The Lights of New York, which was the first all talkie.

OK For Sound (1946)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Documentary covering the 20th Anniversary of sound films once again shows clips from all the big movies and tries to explain why sound was so important. The documentary loses points for making fun of the silent film but this was the attitude of the time, which is why so many silent films are now lost.

When the Talkies Were Young (1955)

*** (out of 4)

Documentary taking a look at the early sound pictures from Warner. The film shows off all of Warner's hot stars including Cagney, Tracy, Robinson, Davis and Stanwyck. This is basically a long trailer compilation but they do pick out some good and so far unavailable titles on DVD.
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8/10
When the Talkies Were Young got me interested in seeking these early Warner Bros. talkie features
tavm3 December 2012
This Robert Youngston documentary about the early Warner Nros. talkie features was the last thing I watched on The Jazz Singer DVD set. There's James Cagney in his debut in Sinners' Holiday with Joan Blondell, 20,000 Years in Sing Sing with Spencer Tracey and Bette Davis, Night Nurse (which was the only of the movies being clipped here that I actually saw the entirety of) with Barbara Stanwyck and Clark Gable, Five Star Final with Edward G. Robinson and Boris Karloff, and Svengali with John Barrymore and Marian Marsh. The last one showcased in particular had some very interesting wide shots that took my breath away even though the houses displayed were obviously models. All those clips whet my appetite to seek those out. If that was Mr. Youngston's goal, he certainly succeeded!
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