After the Silents

Hollywood Film Music in the Early Sound Era, 1926-1934

Michael Slowik

Columbia University Press

After the Silents

Pub Date: October 2014

ISBN: 9780231165839

400 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $32.00£28.00

Pub Date: October 2014

ISBN: 9780231165822

400 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $95.00£78.00

Pub Date: October 2014

ISBN: 9780231535502

400 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $31.99£28.00

After the Silents

Hollywood Film Music in the Early Sound Era, 1926-1934

Michael Slowik

Columbia University Press

Many believe Max Steiner's score for King Kong (1933) was the first important attempt at integrating background music into sound film, but a closer look at the industry's early sound era (1926–1934) reveals a more extended and fascinating story. Viewing more than two hundred films from the period, Michael Slowik launches the first comprehensive study of a long-neglected phase in Hollywood's initial development, recasting the history of film sound and its relationship to the "Golden Age" of film music (1935–1950).

Slowik follows filmmakers' shifting combinations of sound and image, recapturing the volatility of this era and the variety of film music strategies that were tested, abandoned, and kept. He explores early film music experiments and accompaniment practices in opera, melodrama, musicals, radio, and silent films and discusses the impact of the advent of synchronized dialogue. He concludes with a reassessment of King Kong and its groundbreaking approach to film music, challenging the film's place and importance in the timeline of sound achievement.
Slowik not only sketches out the important trends and developments of this nascent period of classical film music history but also makes a compelling argument that there are important continuities that connect the mature silent period with the early sound period. Jeff Smith, author of The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music
With a thorough investigation of hundreds of conversion-era feature films, Michael Slowik has provided an important revision of film music history to account for a wide range of scoring practices. After the Silents is impressive scholarship and a valuable resource for anyone with an interest in film sound. Jennifer Fleeger, author of Sounding American: Hollywood, Opera, and Jazz
Scholars interested in film music will enjoy Slowik's discussion of the differences in film scoring practices across studios and in B films versus mainstream, higher-budget films.... Recommended. Choice
Slowik offers a comprehensive and compelling analysis of the evolving and diverse musical landscape of early sound film and revises our understanding of the development of the classical Hollywood film score. Journal of American History
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. A Wide Array of Choices: Musical Influences in the 1920s
2. Music in Early Synchronized and Part-Talking Films, 1926–1929
3. Toward a Sparse Music Style: Music in the 100 Percent Talkie, 1928–1931
4. Interlude: The Hollywood Musical, 1929–1932
5. Music and Other Worlds: The Hollywood Film Score, 1931–1933
6. Reassessing King Kong; or, The Hollywood Film Score, 1933–1934
Conclusion
Appendix: Chronological Filmography, 1926–1934
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Long-listed, 2015 Kraszna-Krausz Book Award for Best Moving Image Book

About the Author

Michael Slowik is assistant professor of television, film, and new media at San Diego State University. His work appears in Cinema Journal; American Music; The Journal of American Culture; Journal of Popular Film and Television; Music, Sound, and the Moving Image; Nineteenth-Century Theatre and Film; and Quarterly Review of Film and Video.