Essay On Sound Cinema

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Hegel once described hearing and seeing as two rational senses working together to give us the complex picture. While sight permits to perceive the object only as a surface without depth, hearing allows to overcome distance between the subject and the object. From this point of view one could assume that the use of sound in film will add to its ability of verisimilitude. Nevertheless, the first reaction to the sound cinema was not always welcoming and numerous film theorist, Rudolf Arnheim leading the list, feared that sound would be a relapse to the old perception of cinema as filmed theatre. In 1929, Weimar director Fritz Lang, the author of renowned Metropolis, “scoffed loudly and publicly at the very concept of the sound film”. However,…show more content…
The technique used here is called voice-over and is bountifully used throughout the whole film, most notably in the sequence of images demonstrating Elsie’s absence (staircase, playground, empty plate) and connected by the voice-over of her mother desperately crying her name. Lang adopts voice-over (predominantly used as a tool for the narration of the story by non-diegetic commentator) as an original way to assemble the consecutive shots by sound bridge – an editing pattern when the diegetic sound originating from one shot segues into the next shot where it becomes non-diegetic or vice versa. Though they surely expand M’s aesthetic dimension, propel its pacing and intensify its complexity, the function of the sound bridges is often more specific, as we can observe in individual sequences of the film: After Elsie is murdered, the black screen appears again and we hear another voice-over. In this case it is not Elsie’s voice as in the first shot but the voices of the newspaper vendors announcing a new edition with the latest reports on her assassination. When the black screen melts away we are shown the view of the street in which the voices origin and finally the camera cuts into the flat of the murderer who is composing a letter to the newspaper. These three shots connected by single voice-over display the city as one organism and the murderer as an equal and unnoticed component of it. In the next sequence we observe the crowd reading the news on the street and we assume that the voice reading aloud belongs to one of the participators. However, in the next shot we find out that it belongs to a man who appears in the next scene. This surprising moment exposes the interconnection of the city by
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