Phonofilm returns to Toronto

Phonofilm returns to Toronto

  As we’ve previously examined, Toronto movie-goers were privy to various synchronized sound and film experiments before the medium settled permanently in the fall of 1928. On December 8, 1927, weeks before aviation epic (and recent Silent Sundays selection) Wings premiered at the Princess Theatre on King St. West, audiences were treated to the return of the Deforest Phonofilm, short sound and talking films dubbed “the revolution of the motion picture” by the Globe &…

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Talkies redux: The arrival of sound films in Toronto

Talkies redux: The arrival of sound films in Toronto

With the surprising success of The Artist, a modern-day silent film dealing with the downfall of an actor at the on-set of the sound revolution, here are a few articles published here over the last few years dealing with the talkie transition in Toronto. Talkies the talk of Toronto! For the first time in the entirety of a feature film, they could hear the creaking of the stairs, the ghostly wind and the voices of…

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You’re fired: Silent film musicians & the talkie revolution

You’re fired: Silent film musicians & the talkie revolution

To coincide with our upcoming Silent Sundays screening of Eisenstein’s pro-labour Strike on May 1, we examine how the arrival of sound pictures affected the livelihood of silent film musicians. — The successful commercialization of synchronized sound films in the late 1920s was arguably the medium’s most important technological achievement since its invention. But often neglected is how the costly conversion to sound systematically put thousands of silent film musicians out of work. In Toronto,…

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Sound effects in early cinema

Sound effects in early cinema

In today’s Toronto Star, I interviewed Toronto-based turntablist duo iNSIDEaMIND on their upcoming project, Sherlock Jr. in Concert, which they’ll perform on Monday, February 21 at Bell Lightbox. Two turntables, effects processors and samplers will replace the pianos, organs or orchestras normally used to accompany Buster Keaton’s surrealist Sherlock Jr. During the interview, the “phonograph alchemists,” Cheldon Patterson and Erik Laar, spoke highly of both Keaton’s talents as a filmmaker as well as the rich,…

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Talking pictures in the silent era

Talking pictures in the silent era

Before the pictures learned to talk, they stuttered. Talking pictures settled permanently in Toronto in late 1928, but it was far from the first time Hogtown movie-goers were exposed to the concept that the flickers needn’t be silent. In November of 1924, four years before the Tivoli and Uptown Theatres were wired for all-talking pictures, those attending the premiere of Elinor Glyn’s His Hour at Shea’s Hippodrome were treated to short subjects from radio pioneer…

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