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A Song in the DarkThe Birth of the Musical Film$
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Richard Barrios

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377347

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377347.001.0001

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Vitaphone Prelude

Vitaphone Prelude

(p.15) 1 Vitaphone Prelude
A Song in the Dark

Richard Barrios

Oxford University Press

A brief overview of the prehistory of sound film, from Thomas Edison through the work of Lee DeForest, noting that most of these early films were marked by musical performance. The origins of the Warner Bros. studio and, ultimately, its marketing of the Vitaphone sound system. Early sound films: Don Juan and Vitaphone, Giovanni Martinelli, Al Jolson, George Jessel. The rival studios begin work of their own. The culmination of this early period with Warners' The Jazz Singer, the success and impact of which have sometimes been misunderstood.

Keywords:   sound film, Lee DeForest, Warner Bros, Vitaphone, sound-on-disc, Don Juan, Martinelli, Fox Movietone, Al Jolson, The Jazz Singer

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