Breaking the Silence

This Breaking the Silence video also includes:

The most impressive movie you've ever seen can't compare to the astonishment audiences felt when feature films began to synchronize sound with the picture. Learn about the complex path to the talkie, including the invention of the phonograph and the fledgling Warner Brothers' risky venture to adopt sound technology.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Pair with a class viewing of the 1952 film Singin' in the Rain, and/or the 2011 film The Artist
  • Use the discussion at 8:10 to begin a conversation or research project about the role of women in the film industry
  • Show the video before assigning a film project to students in which they must explore the inclusion (or exclusion) of sound
  • Have class members view a series of silent films, followed by a class viewing of The Jazz Singer, to analyze the difference sound makes
Classroom Considerations
  • The first half of the video contains a verbal explanation of the history of sound synchronization, which is useful information but possible dry for some viewers; the second half is much more engaging
  • Part of a larger playlist on film history from Crash Course
  • This resource is only available on an unencrypted HTTP website. It should be fine for general use, but don’t use it to share any personally identifiable information
  • An excellent addition to a filmmaking class or when discussing prominent inventions of the 20th century
  • None
Common Core