Edmund Meisel’s “Visual Sound” in <i>The Crimson Circle</i> (1929): The Case of the Vanishing Part-Talkie

Fiona Ford

in The Sounds of the Silents in Britain

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199797615
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979738 | DOI:
Edmund Meisel’s “Visual Sound” in The Crimson Circle (1929): The Case of the Vanishing Part-Talkie

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In August 1929, British Talking Pictures released a part-talking feature called The Crimson Circle. This early British sound feature was a re-working of the German silent film Der rote Kreis (directed by Friedrich Zelnik in 1928). Recorded using a sound-on-disc process, the rejuvenated Crimson Circle had dialogue sections (directed by Sinclair Hill) interspersed within a synchronised soundtrack of music and sound effects devised by the Austrian composer Edmund Meisel, notorious for his propulsive accompaniment to the German release of Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1926). Neither the print nor the discs from The Crimson Circle are known to survive, but aspects of the lost soundtrack can be glimpsed from surviving documentary evidence and by comparison with Meisel’s extant film scores and soundtracks.

Keywords: Edmund Meisel; The Crimson Circle; Sinclair Hill; Edgar Wallace; British Talking Pictures; British International Film Distributors; Wembley studios; part-talking; sound-on-disc; Film Society

Chapter.  7232 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Popular Music

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