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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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The Sound Barrier

The Sound Barrier

(p.43) 2 The Sound Barrier
A Song in the Dark

Richard Barrios

Oxford University Press

1928 was the year when sound film was genuinely established. As the early part-talking films were produced, the studios scramble to mount the sound-film bandwagon while audiences were compelled to readjust their viewing habits. Lights of New York, an inept melodrama, triumphed as the first all-talking film. Al Jolson's second feature film, The Singing Fool, was a far greater success than The Jazz Singer, and its success was integral to the sound-film juggernaut (although it is today an unwatchable relic). Other companies began producing their own sound films, sometimes with music, as with Universal's forgotten The Melody of Love. Audiences, while enthusiastic, also still enjoyed the more tenable artistry of silent film, despite such audible works as Fannie Brice in My Man.

Keywords:   1928, Vitaphone, Tenderloin, Lights of New York, sound-on-film, Jolson, The Singing Fool, audiences, Fannie Brice

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