Continuing our journey through Mark Cousin’s The Story of Film, we’ve now reached the first full decade of talking pictures. Though silent films would still be made into the mid 1930’s (with some made in both silent and sound versions for a time), by the end of the decade “talkies” would be the industry standard and Hollywood would be entering its “Golden Age.” It was in this decade that Hollywood would inaugurate four genres that continue to this day.
We begin with the horror genre. While Tod Browning’s film adaptation of Dracula had been the first successful sound horror movie, it was James Whale’s version of Frankenstein that would be more influential. While Browning’s film was brightly lit with theatrical staging, Whale’s film featured sets and lighting patterned after German expressionist films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Whale’s later films, The Bride of Frankenstein (the start of the first horror film franchise) and The Old Dark House would also reflect his sense of humor, bringing a dark, comic feel to the proceedings. Continue reading “The Story of Film, Part 4: The Arrival of Sound”