Musings on Culture

Alejandra de Leiva's Blog

First Spanish sound film dating from 1923!

The popular perception is that the history of sound cinema begins with Warner Brother’s The Jazz Singer (1927). Nevertheless, efforts to synchronize recorded sound and film began much earlier (see, for instance, the Dickson Experimental Sound Film). What The Jazz Singer actually represents is the beginning of commercial acceptance of transition to sound films.

The Spanish newspaper El País informed yesterday that the first Spanish sound film (dating from 1923!) has been discovered at the Library of Congress. It is a 11min musical film in Spanish and Portuguese titled “From Far Seville”, directed by Lee de Forest in his Phonofilm sound-on-film process, and protagonized by Spanish dancer and singer Concha Piquer. It was shown at the Rivoli Theater in New York City on April 15, 1923, with 17 other short films.

HERE is a fragment of the documentary made about the discovery.

Read the article from El País HERE (in Spanish).

2004 interview with editor Walter Murch in which he discusses what is provisionally known by archivists as the Dickson Experimental Sound Film


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