A terrific overview of the history of sound film technology as well as the difficulties of transitioning to sound.
Aside from watching the entire DVD package for "The Jazz Singer" (as the DVD extras are incredible and include many hours of early experimental sound films), there really is no better way to understand the coming of sound to movies than to watch "End of an Era". It not only educates, but is fascinating throughout.
The show begins by discussing many early attempts to create sound films as well as the general ambivalence towards such technology. The sound on film, sound on disc and other advances are discussed as well as Fox's and Warner's stepping out on their own to work on the technologies while all the other studios pretty much ignored it as long as they could are all discussed. Additionally, once the transition to sound was begun, HOW this occurred was discussed--such as technical difficulties, shortcomings of many early sound films and the truth about the supposed huge number of actors who were fired because their voices weren't cinematic. All in all, a great way to end the series--a series that is simply brilliant from start to finish.
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