This was the first in a program of shorts that accompanied the premiere of Don Juan (1926) in which Will H. Hays, President of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, introduces the audience to the Vitaphone sound system.
An insurance lawyer unhappy with his rate of company advancement becomes a middleman in deals to recover stolen property from the Mob, thus earning a nice living. But his actions attract police attention and set him up for a double-cross.
The Honorable Will H. Hays, President of the Motion Picture Producers & Distributors of America, speaks directly into the camera about the important new technology to enhance the motion picture going experience, namely Vitaphone which allows the synchronization of the picture on screen with sound. Its development is important if only because of the importance of the motion picture as the chief amusement to millions in the American public. It allows the inclusion of music directly into the motion picture, music which already plays an important role in the motion picture in the pre-Vitaphone era. However, it allows symphonic music to be incorporated, which many of the small hamlets across the country could not afford to provide in their own movie houses. Vitaphone was developed by the Western Electric and Bell Telephone Companies, and is also greatly attributed to the work of Warner Bros. Pictures.Written by
Hays' speech in this short introduced the first public demonstration of the Vitaphone sound system and was part of the program for the premiere of the first Vitaphone feature, Don Juan (1926), on 6 August 1926 at Warners' Theatre in New York City. The program also included a short of Met Opera star Giovanni Martinelli singing Vesti la giubba (1926) from "I Pagliacci," and several other musical performance shorts. See more »
Will H. Hays:
My friends, no story ever written for the screen is as dramatic as the story of the screen itself. Tonight, we write another chapter in that story.
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I have to totally disagree with Mr Fry's comment. Will H Hays was the Democratic Party Chairman, presidential campaign manager and Postmaster General before becoming the First President of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Associationtaking what later was called the "Hays Commission". The nation wanted to regulate films, and asked him to do it. He walked and talked with the great of Hollywood from the 20s to the 50s. Some call what he did censorship and others call it regulation. Either way he did what was asked of him in service to his country.
Could you have done better, or sounded any better introducing the first sound recording of a movie? I think not! Will Hays is a great figure in the history of movies. I have talked to people who knew and respected him in our small Indiana town. To judge his life on this short piece of film is unthinkable. I think he did magnificently! People, watch this snip of history and learn about the man in it!
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