The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution 1926-1930

Overview

For the first time ever, here is the epic story of the transition from silent films to talkies - that moment when movies were totally transformed and the American public cemented its love affair with Hollywood. In the Speed of Sound, author Scott Eyman, whose biography of filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch was hailed as "resoundingly wonderful," has created a mixture of cultural and social history that is at once both scholarly and vastly entertaining. Here is the first and last word on the missing chapter in the history ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (13) from $8.06   
  • New (3) from $94.50   
  • Used (10) from $8.06   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$94.50
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(266)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$98.51
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(191)

Condition: New
0684811626 New. Looks like an interesting title!

Ships from: Naperville, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$105.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(149)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution 1926-1930

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$19.99
BN.com price
Sending request ...

Overview

For the first time ever, here is the epic story of the transition from silent films to talkies - that moment when movies were totally transformed and the American public cemented its love affair with Hollywood. In the Speed of Sound, author Scott Eyman, whose biography of filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch was hailed as "resoundingly wonderful," has created a mixture of cultural and social history that is at once both scholarly and vastly entertaining. Here is the first and last word on the missing chapter in the history of Hollywood, the ribbon of dreams by which America conquered the world. Myth has it that it happened overnight, that Al Jolson said a few words in The Jazz Singer and the talkies were born, that stars with weak or inappropriate voices either killed themselves or went into seclusion, that the movie industry simply refitted itself and went on with business. The truth, however, is more involved - not to mention sinister, colorful, and entertaining. Sound was something the industry had resisted, and it was accepted only reluctantly and only after the Warner Bros. Studio had forced the issue with its aggressive selling of The Jazz Singer. But that was 1927, and for a long time afterward there were still those filmmakers, film stars, and even some filmgoers who resisted the appealing novelty. Change, however, was inevitable, and when it came it was devastating. As Scott Eyman demonstrates in his fascinating account of this exciting era, it was a time when fortunes, careers, and lives were made and lost, when the American film industry came fully into its own, and when the American film-going public truly succumbed to Hollywood's bewitching spell.

Eyman, who won praise everywhere for Mary Pickford: America's Sweetheart and Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise gives color and depth to that time when America succumbed to Hollywood's bewitching spell in this epic story of the transition from silent films to talkies. 16 pp. of photos. 400 pp. Local author publicity. 12,500 print.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Eyman's history of the four-year transition from silent to sound film reads at times like two books expertly cut and fitted together: a solidly researched, always interesting narrative of the decline of the silent era intercut with the crazy, entertaining story of the rise of talkies. No doubt the madcap nature of the age he chronicles explains the jumps from art to ballyhoo, from individual genius to shameless profiteering. Eyman's style at times parallels his hybrid subject, oddly combining the authoritative tone of the film historian with that of a Hollywood press agent (Old San Francisco is a "story... with Yellow Peril, imperiled virgins, and a deus ex machina from deep left field..."). However, the stories of sound-pioneering moguls William Fox and the Warner brothers unify the narrative, as does Eyman's convincing claim that the myth of the overnight sensation of sound and its evolution from silents masks a longer, more complex coexistence. Perceptive discussions of classics such as F.W. Murnau's Sunrise and King Vidor's The Crowd give way in later chapters to a greater focus on such curiosities as "goat-gland" movies (silent films with sound scenes implanted in them for box-office rejuvenation) and poignant accounts of silent actors (especially John Gilbert) who were lost in the transition to sound. Eyman effectively recounts the sorrow of observers such as writer Robert E. Sherwood who shrewdly saw that the crude novelty of sound would initially regress a medium that had only recently laid claim to being an art form. The interpretive judgments are so good that the book's virtual omission of silent comedy (only two pages of Harold Lloyd) puzzles and disappoints. An analysis of the very different silent-to-sound careers of Chaplin and Keaton would have given further breadth and balance to an instructive book. (Mar.)
Library Journal
The transition from silent film to sound has been covered in many histories of Hollywood but nowhere so thoroughly and delightfully as here. The author of such biographies as Mary Pickford: America's Sweetheart (LJ 2/1/90), Eyman combines a historian's zeal for detail and context with a storyteller's talent for the perfect illustrative anecdote. The author deftly juggles a number of stories, including film-by-film accounts of key transition directors King Vidor and F.W. Murnau. He also manages to describe the technical aspects of his story without bogging down in the kind of jargon that would put a lay reader to sleep. A remarkable book that belongs in every film history collection.-Thomas Wiener, "Satellite DIRECT"
Publisher's Weekly
A solidly researched, always interesting narrative of the decline of the silent era intercut with the crazy, entertaining story of the rise of talkies.
Kirkus Reviews
Eyman follows his highly acclaimed Ernst Lubitsch (1993) with an astute look at the most significant upheaval in Hollywood history: the arrival of talking pictures.

Legend has it that Al Jolson's impassioned monologue to his mother in The Jazz Singer was the first time that anyone talked in the movies and the event that saved Warner Brothers from bankruptcy. Eyman's meticulously researched history of the coming of sound punctures those misconceptions and many others. In fact, as Eyman documents, there were early experiments with sound films shortly after the turn of the century. But there were technical, financial, and sociological reasons for the initial failure of these experiments. Not until 1926, when Sam Warner and William Fox became the champions of two competing versions, did sound films become commercially viable. And that breakthrough would engender hundreds of short films, involving everyone from Gertrude Lawrence and the Metropolitan Opera to singing canaries. Eyman deftly traces the race among competing inventors to get their various methods accepted, the unease with which most of the studios watched the contest from the sidelines, and the chaos that ensued when "talkies" finally came in. The constraints necessitated by early sound-recording technology turned the once imperious directors of the silent film into prisoners of the their sound engineers. But there were directors who refused to allow their cameras to be chained down, and as Eyman reports, a few early talkies succeeded as art as well as novelty. Eyman is particularly good at conveying the beauty of the fully developed art that was silent cinema; in the years 192627 as sound began to supplant silence, Hollywood produced silent films of such accomplishment as Sunrise, Seventh Heaven, The Crowd, and The Docks of New York.

Eyman tells this story with wit and skill, detailing a surprisingly overlooked but crucial period in Hollywood history.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684811628
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.43 (w) x 9.59 (h) x 1.27 (d)

Meet the Author


Scott Eyman is books editor of The Palm Beach Post and author of seven previous books about film, including Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer and Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)