Topic 3: The world sound cinema up to the end of the 40s

● the coming of sound – problems, changes and final implementation ● genres, stars and directors ● the impact of Word War II on the film industry

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The most well-known and much-loved classics were made in this period, also known as the Golden Age of Hollywood, with the most important development being the transition from silent to sound; the development of the first technicolour and wide-screen technologies and, mainly, the impact of World War II, which greatly influenced the film industry both in Europe and America.

Even more than before, as Europe was heading to another War, the potential of film as an effective propaganda tool was used and widely exploited. Many European filmmakers had to flee Europe for America, which helped to firmly establish Hollywood as the most important and influential centre of filmmaking in the world. Hollywood films and Hollywood stars became even more popular in Europe because of their glamorous, escapist and dreamlike quality that allowed ordinary people forget their worries and the War and admire their idols. Hollywood stars were taken as role-models, style icons, teachers of manners, masters in the art of seduction, coolness and language, which to this day influence art and culture. These icons were truly larger than life and Hollywood was dubbed as the Dream Factory.

For many, this era was the golden age of drama, with classic black and white imagery, dark, sinister feel of the Film Noir and its anti-heroes and heroines.


The first feature-length motion picture with synchronized sound and dialogue sequences:
The Jazz Singer (1927), Alan Crosland

Hell’s Angels (1930), Howard Hughes

King Kong (1933), Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack

Charlie Chaplin as the iconic Little Tramp character, in his legendary final silent-film appearance, struggling to survive in the modern, industrialized world: Modern Age (1936), Charlie Chaplin

The first feature-length animation movie picture: Snow White and the Seven Dwarf (1937), David Hand (produced by Walt Disney)

The popular family, fantasy-adventure film and one of the early examples of a star vehicle, written and produced by the studio especially for the young starlet Judy Garland in the main role: The Wizard of Oz (1939), Victor Fleming

The legendary romantic epic and a classic example of a very successful adaptation of a novel to film: Gone With the Wind (1939), Victor Fleming


Charlie Chaplin in his first true talking picture, and, more importantly, the only major film of its period to bitterly satirise the War, Nazism and Adolf Hitler: The Great Dictator (1940), Charlie Chaplin

Fantasia (1940), various directors (produced by Walt Disney)

The first example of a classic Film Noir genre, starring Humphrey Bogart : The Maltese Falcon (1941), John Huston

One of the most innovative dramas in the history of film, Orson Welles, 26 years old by the time of its release: Citizen Kane (1941), Orson Welles

Legendary Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in one of the most loved drama and propaganda classics: Casablanca (1942), Michael Curtiz


– the glorious decade of the 1930s, with major genres, stars and directors. Some information on the transition from silent to sound cinema
– the 1940s, the War years, main genres and big names, the birth of Film Noir, ending with the darker side of the period – the blacklisting of certain filmmakers and stars due to their alleged Communist connections and the beginning of the end of the studio system in Hollywood
– a tribute page to the Golden Age of Drama and classic Hollywood film stars and film-makers

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There are, of course, many more examples and films you can choose from to talk about this period on absolutoria, so, again, make you personal selection and be ready to talk about it

as always, feel free to leave a comment, ask, recommend : )



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