First All Talkie (other than Jazz Singer) on DVD?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Eric Huffstutler, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    Other than the only "partial" talkie Jazz Singer movie, what first "all talkie" movies are available on DVD? I believe the actual first as well as the first color are both lost but there has to be at least one or two of the first 5 or so talkies available on DVD?

    Eric
     
  2. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    It might be In Old Arizona (1928), in terms of all talkie FEATURES. Fox released it a few years ago. No idea when Warner's 2-disc SE of Lights of New York will be released.

    The first 2-color Technicolor feature is indeed lost (The Gulf Between, 1917), but the first with their improved prismatic system, Toll of the Sea (1922), is available on the first "Treasures from American Film Archives" collection.

    In terms of early sound and color experiments, I highly recommend taking a look at the first two volumes of Treasures from American Film Archives, Image's Unseen Cinema set, and Flicker Alley's Saved from the Flames set. I think Kino's "The Movies Begin" collection has a lot of stencil color films.
     
  3. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    I ordered "In Old Arizona" which wasn't the FIRST talkie but supposed to be the first talking movie shot outdoors.

    I had thought "Lights of New York" was lost? Then I saw it was released on Laser at one point in a collection. Is Warner working on this tile for release? If so, is there a thread already on this?

    Any idea what the first talking "horror" and/or Sci-Fi might have been?

    Eric
     
  4. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    I'm surprised LIGHTS wasn't included on the JAZZ SINGER set. It's short enough, but also terrible enough that I couldn't possibly see it standing on its own.

    The first talking horror picture was THE TERROR (1928), which is non-extant, except for the soundtrack.
     
  5. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    Would hope it will be released on a historical standpoint or part of a similar collection as with the Laserdisc set?

    So I guess that means "Dracula" 1931 would be the first horror still around? I was hoping for possibly something earlier. Did note that the British entry of "The Ghoul" was much later - 1933 and the first British all talkie was Hitchcock's "Blackmail" 1929.

    How about first talking Sci-Fi?

    [Edit] - found the answer myself - "Just Imagine" 1930 released by Fox. Any chance it coming to DVD?

    Eric
     
  6. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker Screenwriter

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    The Bat Whispers (1930) still exists. It predates Dracula by three months. There's a very nice DVD of it, too. The 1929 sound reissue of The Phantom of the Opera also survives.
     
  7. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    But when you talk about "sound", it may only consist of a soundtrack of music and background noise, short dialog, and/or effects. I know there are some earlier movies like this. Phantom doesn't qualify as an "all talking" movie but thanks for the other lead [​IMG]

    Eric
     
  8. James 'Tiger' Lee

    James 'Tiger' Lee Second Unit

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    And what talking there is in Phantom is enough to make one never touch another talkie again!

    I do wish The Terror survived. Be interesting to see...I hope!
     
  9. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    My guess is probably not, although it might end up on some gangster set. Simply too esoteric.

    THE CAT CREEPS and SEVEN FOOTPRINTS TO SATAN are also early talkie horrors. The former is lost except for the sound discs and a segment in the Universal comedy short, BOO!, and the latter only survives in a foreign silent version (although the original was only silent with a M/E track and some talkies sequences).

    The talkie PHANTOM doesn't really exist beyond the sound discs. What you see that's called the "1929 version" out there really isn't a 1929 version, it just happens to have footage in it from that later re-issue. And yes, based on the sound discs, the talkie version is dreadful.

    JUST IMAGINE wouldn't be considered the first talkie sci-fi movie, I don't think. HIGH TREASON and THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND both pre-date it. Only one reel survives of the 1929 Tiffany film, MIDSTREAM, a Ricardo Cortez picture that has some sci-fi/fantasy elements about it. What there is you can see on the Milestone PHANTOM OF THE OPERA set.

    BLACK WATERS, which was released on April 14, 1929, was touted as the first talkie British picture, and while it was a British production, it was made in the US. It is also a horror film, although I think it is lost.
     
  10. James 'Tiger' Lee

    James 'Tiger' Lee Second Unit

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    Black Waters sounds interesting. What's it all about?
     
  11. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    BLACK WATERS is a horror-mystery set at sea. A group of characters, some of them unsavory, are shanghaied aboard a boat that's set adrift at sea. Each of them is killed one by one. Noble Johnson is one of them, plays a mute African servant to the killer.

    The director was Marshall Neilan, who had directed many of Mary Pickford's big hits in the 'teens and 'twenties, had been strong-armed out of MGM at the time for his pomposity towards producers, and at this point had been an alcoholic who would take any job on poverty row.
     
  12. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    Jack... I thought (and read) that Hitchcock's "Blackmail" was the first British talkie?

    Out of all of the titles you mentioned, are any on DVD?

    Eric
     
  13. ColbyCo82

    ColbyCo82 Stunt Coordinator

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    Has there ever been a serious effort to find a print of "The Cat Creeps" or it's Spanish language counterpart? I know people have been looking for prints of films like London After Midnight and The Patriot for years, but I havent heard anything about The Cat Creeps. It almost seems as if no one really cares to look. It might be in an archive someone in Europe or South America waiting to be discovered.
     
  14. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    Eric, there is some debate as to whether or not BLACK WATERS could be considered a real British film, since it was made by American film makers on American soil (but for a British market with British money). But it was released several months before BLACKMAIL, so make of that what you will.

    None of the films I've mentioned are on DVD. The most likely candidate is JUST IMAGINE, which only survives as a studio work-print and is actually longer than the released version.

    THE CAT CREEPS is well known in archival circles and it's on everyone's look-out list just as much as many of the other famous lost films.
     
  15. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    Again, it blows my mind to think that Warner would overstep "Lights of New York" no matter how bad it is since it is a historic milestone in movie history. There are worse titles out on DVD including the one mentioned as the first outdoor talkie "In Old Arizona".. Even "Blackmail" is a bore especially with the first 10-minutes being silent without cards and can't follow what the storyline setup is about (what's up with that?).

    Warner/MGM must have thought there was a market for these films at one point releasing it on "The Dawn of Sound III" (ML 103942) laser disc set in 1993.

    Eric
     
  16. Danny Burk

    Danny Burk Second Unit

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    There are a lot of important films being overlooked....the long-promised silents from Warners being high on the list. And DON JUAN (1926) hasn't even been mentioned as being in the works, yet it's just as important historically as LIGHTS OF N.Y. since it's the first feature film released with synchronized sound (music and effects, not dialogue). And...it's a terrific film to watch today, unlike the truly dreadful LIGHTS, which is really difficult to sit through. A wonderful follow-up box set to JAZZ SINGER could be an "early sound" set including DON JUAN, WHEN A MAN LOVES, OLD SAN FRANCISCO, some additional short material, and yes, LIGHTS OF N.Y. (for historical purposes!).
     
  17. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    I'm surprised no one mentioned 1929's Applause, as directed by the underrated Rouben Mamoulian. It was an all-talking picture, and is generally considered a fine example of how quickly some filmmakers adapted to sound within months of the success of The Jazz Singer.
     
  18. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    Charles... that would work in conjunction with my original question - asking of possibly the first 5 or so talkies. But hoping to also find some of the "earliest" on DVD?
     
  19. Brianruns10

    Brianruns10 Second Unit

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    I'd like to see some more early Technicolor sound pictures released. Like "The Viking" (1928), the first all color film to utilize sound (though like Don Juan, it is music and sound f/x, no dialog). It is one of the few early Technicolor films to survive in its original state. There are other early color talkies that would be fascinating to see released as well. Like "On With the Show!,' the first all color, all talking picture (though apart from a short fragment, survives only as a B/W dupe). Then there is "Sally" and "The Show of Shows," which both survive more or less (again, B/W dupes survive in place of much of the color). And of course, there's "Whoopee," which Technicolor regarded as one of its best examples from the early, pre-three strip era.

    Best,
    BR
     
  20. Danny Burk

    Danny Burk Second Unit

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    APPLAUSE has been out for several years, thanks to Kino.
     

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