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The Arrival of Sound 

The Story of Film looks at the films of the 1930s and the development of "talking pictures". Sound requires the use of sound stages and this effects lighting and cinematography. It looks at... See full summary »


Mark Cousins


Mark Cousins




Episode credited cast:
Mark Cousins ... Himself - Presenter
Howard Hawks ... Himself (archive footage)
Jean Renoir ... Himself (archive footage)
Norman Lloyd ... Himself - Interviewee
Jean-Michel Frodon Jean-Michel Frodon ... Himself - Interviewee
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Juan Diego Botto ... Narrator (voice)
Jean Bouquin Jean Bouquin ... Himself, directeur du Théâtre Dejazet
Alfred Hitchcock ... Himself (archive footage)


The Story of Film looks at the films of the 1930s and the development of "talking pictures". Sound requires the use of sound stages and this effects lighting and cinematography. It looks at Rouben Mamoulian's musical Love Me Tonight. It looks at the development of film genres in Hollywood: horror films, gangster films, musicals, westerns, comedies, and animated cartoons. It then looks overseas to look at the work of French filmmakers (Jean Cocteau, Jean Vigo, Marcel Carne, Jean Renoir), South American filmmakers (Mário Peixoto), Poland (Stefan and Franciszka Themerson), Germany (Leni Riefenstahl), and England (Hitchcock). Written by Shatterdaymorn

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Release Date:

24 September 2011 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hopscotch Films See more »
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Did You Know?


Mark Cousins - Presenter: A spokesman of the Vichy government, which sided with the Nazis, said if we've lost the war it's because of Quai Des Brumes. Director Carney retorted that you can't blame a storm on the barometer.
See more »


Features Gone with the Wind (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

The Next Level of the Senses
14 April 2015 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

There is so much covered in this Episode it is a bit overwhelming. It begins with the implications of going from a purely visual presentation to one with sound, where a bit of sterility reared itself until the technical aspect could catch up. In other words, some of the films aren't very good. We are introduced to Ruben Mamoulian and his "Love Me Tonight" where wonderful things are done with sound, though they are almost like music. We are then introduced to six genres that begin to flourish in the Thirties: Horror (The Golem and Frankenstein); The Gangster Film (Cagney and Scarface); The Western (The Iron Horse and My Darling Clementine); Comedy (Bringing Up Baby); Musicals (especially those by Busby Berkeley); and The Cartoon (animation from the French culminating in Walt Disney with Snow White breaking ground).

We now go to France where the great filmmakers, Jean Vigo with Zero de Conduite and L'Atalante push the envelope, angering the powers that be with their political commentary. Jean Renoir and his humanist films. There is a look at what is going on in South America.

Leni Riefenstahl, a controversial though brilliant female director was at the right hand of Hitler, doing films like The Triumph of Will and work on the 1936 Olympic Games. She seemed to be unapologetic about her films. Because the Jews were not allowed to work in Hitler's Germany, much of the creative juice went out of the industry.

The final major focus has to do with Alfred Hitchcock who was possibly the most innovative of all. They list seven things he excelled at: 1) point of view 2) creativity based on his schooling and upbringing 3) an understanding of fear 4) close ups 5) beginning with non-descript close ups and moving back to a broader shot 6) diminishing sound for dramatic effect, and 7) moving to a high shot and then back to very emotional close up.

Finally, there are three films that feature female characters which are benchmark to this era: Ninotchka, with Greta Garbo; The Wizard of Oz, with Judy Garland; and Vivien Leigh's portrayal of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind.

This is really quite a tour de force in about one hour.

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