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πŸ“• ✏️ The Silent Clowns

by Walter Kerr

Started reading on

Gave up reading on , after 116 pages

Completed in 186 days

A giant coffee table book my wife already owned, I started reading it after watching City Lights and listening to the Unspooled podcast episode about the film.

The book is great, and the introduction especially grabbed me. It’s an essay on the fundamental difference between silent film and talkies, and how talkies were not inevitable, even though it seems that way now.

The first sound picture happened years before The Jazz Singer, and there were multiple studio attempts to bring it to audiences between the two points, but people rejected it, preferring silent film.

And there is something that can only be captured in silence. You are not contrained by microphones, so your shots are free to go where ever. Your movies can be more visual, more a dance.

There’s some really interesting trade offs you make between sound and silence; things that work in one wouldn’t work in another, and vice versa.