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Dickson Experimental Sound Film (S)

5.9
603
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Original title
Dickson Experimental Sound Film (S)
Year
Running time
1 min.
Country
United States United States
Director
Music
Robert Planquette
Cinematography
William Heise (B&W)
Cast
Producer
Edison Manufacturing Company
Genre
Documentary | Origins of Film. Experimental Cinema. Short Film. Music Documentary
Synopsis / Plot
The Dickson Experimental Sound Film is a film made by William Dickson in late 1894 or early 1895. It is the first known film with live-recorded sound and appears to be the first a motion picture made for the Kinetophone, the proto-sound-film system developed by Dickson and Thomas Edison. (The Kinetophone, consisting of a Kinetoscope accompanied by a cylinder-playing phonograph, was not a true sound-film system, for there was no attempt synchronize picture and sound throughout playback.) The film was produced at the "Black Maria", Edison's New Jersey film studio. There is no evidence that it was ever exhibited in its original format. Newly digitized and restored, it is the only surviving Kinetophone film with live-recorded sound.

The film features Dickson playing a violin into a recording cone for an off-camera wax cylinder. The melody is from a barcarolle, "Song of the Cabin Boy", from Les Cloches de Corneville (literally The Bells of Corneville; presented in English-speaking countries as The Chimes of Normandy), a light opera composed by Robert Planquette in 1877. In front of Dickson, two men dance to the music. In the final seconds, a fourth man briefly crosses from left to right behind the cone. The running time of the restored film is seventeen seconds; the accompanying cylinder contains approximately two minutes of sound, including twenty-three seconds of violin music, encompassing the film's soundtrack. After its restoration in 2000, the Dickson Experimental Sound Film was selected for inclusion in the United States National Film Registry.
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