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The Dawn of Sound: How Movies Learned to Talk (2007)

The nearly 30-year struggle to bring sound to motion pictures is the backdrop for this insightful documentary. Film historians, and survivors from the era take the audience from the early ... See full summary »


Robert S. Bader (as Robert Bader), Tim Prokop


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Hunt Mark Hunt ... Narrator (voice)
Ron Hutchinson Ron Hutchinson ... Himself - The Vitaphone Project
Scott Eyman Scott Eyman ... Himself - Author 'The Speed of Sound'
Rudy Behlmer ... Himself - Film Historian / Author
Jack Stanley Jack Stanley ... Himself - Thomas Edison Menlo Park Museum
Robert Gitt Robert Gitt ... Himself - UCLA Film & Television Archive
Emily Thompson Emily Thompson ... Herself - Professor of History, Princeton University
Jonathan Kuntz Jonathan Kuntz ... Himself - UCLA Film Historian
Jack Warner Jr. Jack Warner Jr. ... Himself - Son of Jack L. Warner (archive footage)
A.C. Lyles ... Himself - Producer, Paramount Pictures
Ben Burtt ... Himself - Sound Designer / Director
Leonard Maltin ... Himself - Film Critic / Historian
Eileen McHugh Eileen McHugh ... Herself - Director, Case Research Lab Museum
Vince Giordano ... Himself - Band Leader, 'Vince Giordano's Nighthawks'
Thelma White ... Herself (archive footage)


The nearly 30-year struggle to bring sound to motion pictures is the backdrop for this insightful documentary. Film historians, and survivors from the era take the audience from the early failed attempts by scientists and inventors, to the joined forces of Western Electric and Warner Bros. who, with their Vitaphone process,revolutionized the entertainment industry, perhaps more than any time before or since. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

2 September 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El amanecer del sonido - Como las películas aprendieron a hablar See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Features The Eccentric Entertainer (1929) See more »

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User Reviews

Reason enough to buy the "Jazz Singer" DVD set!
22 January 2010 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

I am about to say something that may shock some readers. The movie "The Jazz Singer", though super-important historically, is not a particularly enjoyable film if you see it today. I know back in 1927 it made a huge splash and revolutionized the motion pictures, but today it all seems very, very dated and clichéd. Plus, the sound in this 'Talkie' was only used here and there--most of the film was still a silent. However, regardless of my opinion about the watchability of this film, I strongly recommend you buy the DVD set because of all the wonderful extras--two disks of them. One of the most interesting was "The Dawn of Sound"--a wonderful history of sound in the movies.

Why did I like it so much? Well, I am a huge film history buff and I always thought that there were only a couple sound films (all shorts) before "The Jazz Singer". However, this documentary shows clips of many experimental sound films. Plus, it turns out the history of sound in films is much, much older than I thought. I had thought sound was first experimented on with films in the early 1920s--but in reality, a primitive sound system was synchronized with a film as early as the 1890s!! Fascinating interviews, tons and tons of great footage and excellent direction make this one of the best made and informative shows I've ever seen. Truly a must for film fans!

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