Re: First American Talking Movie

From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: rec.arts.movies.past-films
Date: Tuesday, November 25, 1997 8:43 AM

Lisa Cullen <> wrote in article
<> …
> Can anyone help me? What was the name of the first American Talking Movie?

If you count shorts, it was probably an Edison short from 1914; Edison made several. (A French pioneer had recorded sound and picture together in 1902.) The Vitaphone system premiered August 6, 1926, with a program that began with Will Hays (no relation) speaking, followed by music and song performances by various acts, with the program concluding with the feature "Don Juan" as accompanied by a soundtrack of music and effects (no spoken dialogue).

The landmark talkie was "The Jazz Singer," premiered October 6, 1927, but it is essentially a silent film (about 75%) which occasionally breaks into songs, plus one monologue and one dialogue segment. The first feature film to have dialogue all the way through (notice the qualifiers here) was "Lights of New York" (1928), considered a crashing bore even at the time of its release. (Just the same, I've been requesting from Turner Classic Movies that they show "Lights of New York" so that I can see it, but TCM hasn't scheduled it yet; should anyone have the same desire, I would appreciate their going to TCM's website ( and choose the film-request option.)

--David Hayes


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