Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Dickson Experimental Sound Film



1894/1895 American Short Film

Director: William K.L. Dickson

Synopsis:
While a violinist plays, two men dance together.

Links:

Ratings:
  • Internet Movie Database: 6.8/10
  • OMG rating: 7/10

Buy/Rent:
  • DVD: Available



Complete short:


Notes/Trivia:
  • Made as a test, The Dickson Experimental Sound Film was the first attempt in history to record sound and moving image in synchronization. The large cone on the left hand side of the frame is the "microphone" for the wax cylinder recorder, located off-camera. It is the first known film with live-recorded sound and appears to be the first motion picture made for the Kinetophone, the proto-sound-film system developed by William K.L. Dickson and Thomas Edison. It is the only surviving Kinetophone film with live-recorded sound.
  • The exact date this film was made is unknown, either in late 1894 or early 1895. There is no evidence that it was ever exhibited in its original format.
  • The violinist seen in the film is director William K.L. Dickson.
  • In his 1981 book The Celluloid Closet, film historian Vito Russo discusses the film, claiming (without attribution) that it was titled The Gay Brothers. Nevertheless, it is generally regarded as one of the earliest examples of same-sex imagery in the cinema.
  • Restored in 2000, with a total running time of just 17 seconds. The accompanying cylinder contains approximately two minutes of sound, including twenty-three seconds of violin music, encompassing the film's soundtrack.
  • In 2003, The Dickson Experimental Sound Film was inducted into the National Film Registry.

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