1929 Timelines: 1920 to 1929

In Germany, UFa begins building Europe’s most modern sound–film studios.

 

Bringing together the Radio Corporation of American, the Keith Orpheum theater chain, and American Pathè, a new motion picture company is founded. Radio–Keith–Orpheum, or RKO, has chosen as its logo a giant radio tower perched atop the world, to reinforce the idea that its birth coincided with the coming of sound. Their banner reads, “It’s RKO – Let’s Go”.

 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gives out its first “Academy Awards”. Thirteen statuettes are given out, with the movie “Wings” receiving the award for “Outstanding Picture”, and the movie “ Sunrise ” receiving the award for “Unique and Artistic Picture”.

 

By the end of this year most theaters have been wired to show sound films.

 

The major studios declare that all of their future films will include music and be at least part–talking.

 

Led by Paramount, MGM, and Fox, the studios establish vocal training departments and force actors to “improve” their voices.

 

Carl Laemmle, the president of Universal Studios, appoints his son, Carl, Jr., to be head of production.

 

Significant Films:

Alfred Hitchcock’s film, “Blackmail”, becomes the first “full length, all talkie film made in Great Britain ”.

Universal releases, “Hell’s Heroes”. It is the first sound film to be shot on location.

MGM releases its first sound musical, “Broadway Melody”. It is advertised as, “All Talking; All Singing; All Dancing”, and integrates songs with the plot.

Paramount releases, “The Cocoanuts”. This is the Marx Brothers’ first movie.

MGM releases the King Vidor film, “Hallelujah”. This is the first sound feature film to use an African–American cast, and was seen at the time as a sign of Hollywood ‘s racial tolerance.

MGM releases the hugely successful, “Bulldog Drummond”. It is Ronald Colman’s first talking picture.

Rouben Mamoulian experiments with both sound, and sound–camera movement, in his film, “Applause”.

First National releases, “Weary River ”. In this sound film, Richard Barthelmess speaks his own dialogue but lip-syncs his songs to the voice of an off–camera singer.

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The Picture Show Man website was established in 2004 to be a comprehensive and free resource for anyone interested in vintage movies. Our focus is the history of motion pictures from the beginning of its development in 1890, to the end of 1960.

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