The way forward to making films made up of more than one shot was led by films of the life of Jesus Christ. The first of these was made in France in 1897, and it was followed in the same year by a film of the Passion play staged yearly in the Czech town of Horitz. This was filmed by Americans for exhibition outside the German-speaking world and was presented in special venues, not as a continuous film, but with the separate scenes interspersed with lantern slides, a lecture, and live choral numbers, to increase the running time of the spectacle to about 90 minutes. Films of acted reproductions of scenes from the Greco-Turkish war were made by Georges Méliès in 1897, and although sold separately, these were no doubt shown in continuous sequence by exhibitors. In 1898 a few films of similar kind were made, but still none had continuous action moving from one shot into the next. The multi-shot films that Georges Méliès made in 1899 were much longer than those made by anybody else, but l'Affaire Dreyfus (The Dreyfus Case) and Cendrillon (Cinderella) still contained no action moving from one shot to the next one. Also, from Cendrillon onwards, Méliès made a dissolve between every shot in his films, which reduced any appearance of action continuity even further. To understand what is going on in both these films, the audience had to know their stories beforehand, or be told them by a presenter. -------------------------------------------------
The sound era
Experimentation with sound film technology, both for recording and playback, was virtually constant throughout the silent era, but the twin problems of accurate synchronization and sufficient amplification had been difficult to overcome (Eyman, 1997). In 1926, Hollywood studio Warner Bros. introduced the "Vitaphone" system, producing short films of live entertainment acts and public figures and adding recorded sound effects and orchestral scores to some of its major features. During late 1927, Warners released The Jazz Singer, which was mostly silent but contained what is generally regarded as the first synchronized dialogue (and singing) in a feature film; but this process was actually accomplished first by Charles Taze Russell in 1914 with the lengthy film The Photo-Drama of Creation. This drama consisted of picture slides and moving pictures synchronized with phonograph records of talks and music. The early sound-on-disc processes such as Vitaphone were soon superseded by sound-on-film methods like Fox Movietone, DeForest Phonofilm, andRCA Photophone. The trend convinced the largely reluctant industrialists that "talking pictures", or "talkies", were the future. A lot of attempts were made before the success of theJazz Singer, that can be seen in the List of film sound systems. Industry impact of sound
The change was remarkably swift. By the end of 1929, Hollywood was almost all-talkie, with several competing sound systems (soon to be standardized). Total changeover was slightly slower in the rest of the world, principally for economic reasons. Cultural reasons were also a factor in countries like China and Japan, where silents co-existed successfully with sound well into the 1930s, indeed producing what would be some of the most revered classics in those countries, like Wu Yonggang's The Goddess (China, 1934) and Yasujirō Ozu's I Was Born, But... (Japan, 1932). But even in Japan, a figure such as the benshi, the live narrator who was a major part of Japanese silent cinema, found his acting career was ending. Sound further...