Den talende film (excerpt) / [Axel Petersen] / [Petersen & Poulsen Lydfilm]

Axel Petersen, Arnold Poulsen

Int.: Axel Breidahl, Axel Petersen, Ruth Dietzmann, Lauritz Sørensen. Prod.: Electrical Phono Film Company. DCP. D.: 12’. Bn e Col

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The quest for an effective and practical synchronised sound film system goes back to the dawn of cinema in the mid-1890s. The emergence of radio and the booming record industry coincided with a renewed interest in sound film in the early 1920s, leading to a full-scale change in the motion picture industry within just a few years. Among the pioneers were Theodore Case and Lee De Forest in the US (Phonofilm), Josef Engl, Joseph Massolle, and Hans Vogt in Germany (Tri-Ergon), and Danish inventors Axel Petersen and Arnold Poulsen, who unveiled their “speaking film” system at the Palads Theatre in Copenhagen on 12 October 1923. This programme focuses on the latter duo and consists of three items: Danish media and literary personality Axel Breidahl introducing the “speaking film” system; an unreleased demonstration film, shot in early May 1923, featuring Axel Petersen himself telling jokes; and a compilation of Petersen and Poulsen’s early short sound film subjects including footage of an express train (with a nod to the Lumière brothers), performances by child-prodigy cellist Ruth Dietzmann and virtuoso trumpeter Lauritz Sørensen, and, finally, an extract from D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation with synchronised music – a look back to cinema’s past while simultaneously predicting its future.

Oliver Hanley

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