The din of gunfire: Rethinking the role of sound in World War II newsreels
Author(s): Shpolberg, Masha
French film historian Laurent Véray has famously called World War I ‘the first media war of the twentieth century’. Newsreels, which first appeared in 1910, brought the war to movie theaters across Europe and the U.S., screening combat for those on the ‘home front’. However, while the audience could see the action it could not hear it – sometimes only live music would accompany the movements of the troops. The arrival of sound newsreels in 1929 radically transformed moviegoers’ experiences of the news, and, by necessity, of armed conflict. Drawing on examples of World War II newsreels from British Pathé’s archive that was recently made available online, this article seeks to delineate the logic governing the combination of voice-over commentary, music, sound effects, and field-recorded sound, and argues that it can be traced directly to the treatment of sound in the ‘Great War’ fiction films of the preceding decade.
Shpolberg, Masha: The din of gunfire: Rethinking the role of sound in World War II newsreels. In: NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies, Jg. 3 (2014), Nr. 2, S. 113–129. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25969/mediarep/15152.
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