Talkie (Definition)

Talkies and talking pictures are informal terms for films incorporating synchronized audible dialogue rather than readable text plates. The terms were widely used in the late 1920s and early 1930s to distinguish sound films from silent films. The distinction was necessary because although the first widely-released feature film incorporating a soundtrack was The Jazz Singer (1927), it was not until a decade later that widespread production of silent films ceased.

By the early 1930s talkies were the standard and by the late 1930s the terms talkie and talking picture became superfluous. With the balance firmly in the favour of sound, it was only necessary to make a distinction when a film was silent.

Talkies helped Hollywood become the world’s cultural and commercial leader. Europe was slower to embrace sound-on-film; many European directors worried that dialogue would take the focus away from the unique aesthetics of silent film, leading to a dilution of the art.


Typical examples of silent movies are City Lights (1931) and The Artist (2011).



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