- article: Awkward Transitions: Hitchcock's "Blackmail" and the Dynamics of Early Film Sound
- author(s): John Belton
- journal: The Musical Quarterly (01/Jul/1999)
- issue: volume 83, issue 2, pages 227-246
- journal ISSN: 0027-4631
- publisher: Oxford University Press
- keywords: Aesthetics, Cinema, Directors, Film Music, Films, Music and Other Literary/Performing/Visual Arts, Silent Films, Theory/Analysis/Composition, Alfred Hitchcock, Blackmail (1929)
Offers an in-depth overview of the beginnings of film sound, carefully describing the slow process by which sound was gradually integrated into moving pictures, first in the form of music and later synchronized dialogue. Outlines the peculiar effects that "mixed" sound and silent films had upon the expectations of audiences. Describes the various equipment and technological advances used in early sound films, including such things as soundproof camera booths, wax disc recorders, multiple-camera filming, and sound editing equipment. Discusses the ways Alfred Hitchcock's 1929 film "Blackmail" reflects the transition of silent to sound films, and argues that the film's shifts between silence and sound constitute a "rupture" in the film's aesthetics.