The online magazine for people who's business is music
Today, movie sound tracks are a business of their own. How about during the silent film area? Was music important? You bet it was. We have all seen clips of silent movies with the piano playing exciting music in the background (added later) as good guys were chasing bad guys. Or, when the hero was on his way to save the damsel in distress. In movie theaters, during the silent era, then later, when sound tracks were added to film stock, music always played an important roll in the movie experience. Music made movies more expressive and helped the movie maker reach further into peoples emotions.
When the movie business first started, there were machines you'd look into, (one person at a time) and crank a handle. Inside the machine were hundreds of individual photographs lined up and in a stack. As you cranked the handle, the pictures were flipped though. Like when you hold a deck of playing cards on one end, bend them in the middle and let them flip thought. As you flip though the cards, you can see each card for a very brief moment. In the case of the the movie machines, all the individual stills were nearly the same from one picture to the next, with just a little difference in each. That difference is what made the image appear to move when the flipped through. In the hand cranked movie viewer era, movies didn't have the benefit of music to help set the mood. Later as movies were shown on a screen, music was added by musicians playing "live" along with the images being shown on the screen. Music added to the experience. Besides pianos, organs were also common in many theaters. As time went by and the movie industry grew and evolved, larger theaters used orchestras to support the action on the screen. As time went by, the movie theaters started adding music to "entertain" as movie patrons entered the theater. People were entertained with music as they waited for the movies to start and as they left the theater. As time passed, the movie experience grew way beyond just watching a movie. Movie theaters were in competition with each other. Each theater was trying to add more and more to entice customers to spend their money in their theater instead of the theater down the street.
My folks who grew up in the 1920s and 1930s. I heard stories about going to the "movies" form them that seem unreal by today's movie going experience. In the "good old days", when you "went to the movies", you got to watch live entertainers doing vaudeville acts of all kinds before the movies started. When the movies did start, they started with "news reals". News reals were much like watching TV news, accept without "news anchor people". Basically, you watched movies with sub titles. Later after sound was added to the film strip, the sub titles were replaced with audio voice overs, which told the story of as the film was displaying the visual material. The news reals had local, national and international news stories included in their format. FYI; news reals were a great way to mold public opinion through the use of propaganda. Just like it is today with network news programs. Included in the movie going experience were cartoons, for children and the young at heart. When the actual movies were shown, there were usually two or more shown. Typically, there was a feature film and a "B" movie. Sometimes, "shorts" were also shown along with the other two movies. Imagine, spending a whole day or evening at the "movies" being entertained by live music, stage performances, cartoons, news reals and two or more movies. All for the price of your admission. Today, instead of all the peripheral entertainment mentioned above, you are bombarded with bunches of, and all kinds of advertisements. Where's my soap box? I feel a speech coming on.
OK, I'll spare you my ranting. If you want to know what the old days were like, or you want to know about the history of films or how music has been used before and after "talkies" were introduced, there's more information available online than most of us will ever have time to explore.
The reason I'm posting this article; I wanted to share with you a very interesting video that gives an overview of the early days of movie making. With the great success of movies like "HUGO" and "THE ARTIST", the video I'm talking about is very timely. I don't know how long the video will be available, so watch it NOW, while you still can. Click (here) to watch, "HUGO AND THE FIRST MOVIE MAGICIANS". Or, simply click on the title.
As a special note, if you watch the movies "The ARTIST" or "HUGO", please be aware of the music. In both movies, without music, there would be little appeal. If you can get your hands on a video of either movie, turn off your speakers and see for yourself. If you can't get your hands on a video of either movie, watch the trailers with your speakers turned on. Then, watch the trailers again with your speakers turned off. Two whole different experiences. I'm sure you will agree, music really adds a lot to the experience.
After watching the video "HUGO AND THE FIRST MOVIE MAGICIANS" mentioned above, be sure to explore Fandor by clicking (here). Fandor has a lot to offer, including a free trial membership.
About Fandor: Fandor selects and organizes the most thought-provoking and entertaining films based on artiste and historic value and offers "on demand" videos streamed to any computer or an array of digital devices, including the iPad and, through the Roko player, the traditional television screen.
by Jungle Jim