Eric Williams: Speaking to Pictures

Stephen Bottomore

in The Sounds of the Silents in Britain

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199797615
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979738 | DOI:
Eric Williams: Speaking to Pictures

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In 1911, the former actor Eric Williams started a new career reciting to his own specially made films. Over the next few years he produced and acted in some dozen films, and recited to these in numerous theaters throughout the United Kingdom.The film narratives were based on pre-existing texts, such as scenes from Shakespeare or popular ballads by the likes of Frederick Weatherly or G. R. Sims. Williams had evident talent as an “elocutionist,” but the chapter argues that his appeal was also founded on a unique fusion of three factors: his films were specially made and not off the shelf, he appeared both in the film and reciting live in the theater, and he lip-synced some of the lines of the on-screen performers.

Keywords: Eric Williams; lecturing; reciting; poetry; live cinema; stardom; identification; Shakespeare; Frederick Weatherly; G. R. Sims

Chapter.  7123 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Popular Music

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