Sunday, April 7, 2013

Silent Blackmail

Unsurprisingly, I've recommended the movie Blackmail. In that post, I also mentioned the fact that it was originally conceived as a silent film, with the decision made during filming to convert it to a talkie once the technology for making sound films reached the UK. In fact, there were two versions made: the talkie which we more commonly see, and a silent version. Although the technology for making sound films had reached the UK, the technology for showing them was more problematic. You only needed to be a centralized studio to make the movies, but had to have widely dispersed ability to be able to show them. In 1929 Britain it still would likely have been the case that a lot of theaters outside the big wouldn't have been wired for sound, as it was a reasonably expensive undertaking. (I think that's part of the reason why The Big Trail had its problems: theaters that had paid to convert to sound didn't want to pay to convert to widescreen too, and so there were two versions of that film made as well.) And so this week TCM has Blackmail in the Silent Sunday Nights spot at midnight tonight, which presumably implies we're going to be getting the silent version.

Inserted between Blackmail and this week's TCM Import is the Hitchcock short Aventure malgache, which was the subject of a September 2008 blog post, at 1:30 AM.

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