Song Performance in the Early Sound Shorts of British Pathé

Derek B. Scott

in The Sounds of the Silents in Britain

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199797615
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979738 | DOI:
Song Performance in the Early Sound Shorts of British Pathé

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This chapter is concerned with the new demands, opportunities, and limitations of the medium of film as it attempted to capture theatrical performances in the early days of sound. During the early 1930s, it is interesting to see the impact on performers when they move from a theater stage to a film studio and are faced with a camera instead of a live audience. Four Pathé musical shorts have been chosen as case studies, and they are representative of three musical genres: music hall, operetta, and cabaret. These films contain performances by the Cockney music-hall comedian Gus Elen, the light-operatic tenor Richard Tauber, and the cabaret artist Greta Keller. These early musical shorts are valuable in showing how singers confronted a new audiovisual medium and tried to mould their performances appropriately.

Keywords: British Pathé; Pathétone; musical shorts; music hall; operetta; cabaret; Gus Elen; Richard Tauber; Greta Keller

Chapter.  7874 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Popular Music

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