The Law of Contact

The Talk of Hollywood (December 9, 1929)

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The Talk of Hollywood
 

Released on December 9, 1929: A silent movie producer has problems creating his first talking motion picture.

Produced by Samuel Zierler and Harry H. Thomas

Directed by Mark Sandrich

The Actors: Nat Carr (J. Pierpont Ginsburg), Fay Marbe (Adore Renée), Hope Sutherland (Ruth Ginsburg), Sherling Oliver (John Applegate, lawyer), Edward LeSaint (Blaisdell Hamilton, movie director), Gilbert Marbe (Reginald Whitlock - Gilbert Marbé is Fay Marbé's brother), John Troughton (James the butler), Al Goodman (himself, orchestra leader), Tom O'Brien (reel mixing projectionist), The Leonidoff Ballet (themselves, ballet troupe), Sam Levene (film buyer Greenwald)

 

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A Record Broken by a Drunk

To understand the drama of failure that produces comedy in the clutches of disaster, we need to understand how the first talking motion pictures were made. RCA had a process that involved recording the sound as the film cameras were recording the pictures. In the editing room the sound from the recording devices was added to an empty portion of the celluloid film and was played from the projector . . . The process that continued until digital film and sound made it obsolete. Now . . . the Warner Brothers used a different process for creating talking motion pictures that involved recording the sound on phonograph records . . . In the movie theater the projectionist would begin playing a record at the same time as he started the projector that showed the pictures. Each ten minute reel of film had a matching phonograph record with the sound on it. If the movie theater projectionist broke a phonograph record there would be no way to provide the sound for that reel of movie . . . and in this story, with the help of a flask of whiskey, our projectionist breaks the first phonograph record for the first reel of film, creating the horror and humor to follow. But first J. Pierpont Ginsburg must make his first talking movie . . . After becoming wealthy by producing silent movies, he will soon be out of money if he cannot produce a blockbuster talking movie. He hires a famous French actress Renée, played by Fay Marbé. Fay Marbé was born to a wealthy New York City family, and it seems that she really enjoyed showing off her body. The flame of her career burned brightly, but not for long. She made two silent movies in 1920 and again in 1928, and between movies showed her body to audiences around the world, becoming a stage sex star commanding large sums of money. This movie is her only apperance in a full length motion picture where we can hear her voice, and is historically important for that, in addition to the great story line. In 1930, the year after appearing in this movie, she was recorded on a short British Pathé newsreel telling the world that she had just insured her legs for a million dollars, of course saucily showing the camera those million dollar legs. You can see that short newsreel with the million dollar legs on the Pathé web site: A Million Charms. I cannot discover what happened to Fay or her career after that, but by 1932 she had disappeared from public sight and her showy show business career was over. It seems that even for this movie it was agreed that her box office appeal would be her sexy reputation and show-off legs instead of her acting skills, because she is not the leading lady of the story . . . She seems to be included in the story predominantly for the cheesecake shots. Pop a big bowl of popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the first talking movie that is about creating the first talking movie.

Edward LeSaint and Nat Carr
Edward LeSaint and Nat Carr
Edward LeSaint
Edward LeSaint
Fay Marbé
Fay Marbé
Fay Marbé and Gilbert Marbé
Fay Marbé and Gilbert Marbé
Fay Marbé
Fay Marbé
Fay Marbé kisses Nat Carr
Fay Marbé kisses Nat Carr
Fay Marbé
Fay Marbé
Hope Sutherland
Hope Sutherland
Hope Sutherland
Hope Sutherland
Nat Carr
Nat Carr
Nat Carr and Fay Marbé
Nat Carr and Fay Marbé
Nat Carr and Hope Sutherland
Nat Carr and Hope Sutherland
Nat Carr and Hope Sutherland
Nat Carr and Hope Sutherland
Nat Carr and John Troughton
Nat Carr and John Troughton
Nat Carr and the stuttering actress
Nat Carr and the stuttering actress
Nat Carr and Tom O'Brien
Nat Carr and Tom O'Brien
Nat Carr
Nat Carr
Nat Carr and May Marbé
Nat Carr and May Marbé
Nat Carr
Nat Carr
Sherling Oliver
Sherling Oliver
Sherling Oliver kisses Hope Sutherland
Sherling Oliver kisses Hope Sutherland
Sherling Oliver proposes to Hope Sutherland
Sherling Oliver proposes to Hope Sutherland
Sherling Oliver
Sherling Oliver