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The Sounds of the Silents in Britain$
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Julie Brown and Annette Davison

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199797615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199797615.001.0001

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Sounding Scottish: Sound Practices and Silent Cinema in Scotland

Sounding Scottish: Sound Practices and Silent Cinema in Scotland

(p.72) 4 Sounding Scottish: Sound Practices and Silent Cinema in Scotland
The Sounds of the Silents in Britain

Trevor Griffiths

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the forces shaping developments in the use of sound in cinemas across Scotland until the end of the 1920s and which contributed to unusually high levels of support for this new entertainment medium. Paying particular attention to the legal and business contexts within which decisions were taken, it focuses especially on the role of elocutionists in presenting film to audiences in Aberdeen. Here, the practice of “speaking to” the pictures, inaugurated early in cinema’s second decade, endured for much of the remainder of the silent era. The unusual persistence of this mode of presentation reveals much about the financial calculations underlying picture-house management, as well as the extent to which cinema’s appeal continued to be rooted in depictions of the local and the immediate.

Keywords:   Scotland, elocutionists, lecturers, licensing, finance, audience, children, locality, modernity, Aberdeen

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