I love black and white movies. Especially those made during the Studio System era (1925 to about 1950) when studios controlled every aspects of the movie making process. They held sway over scripts, actors, directors, soundtracks, everything but the actors’ most intimate thoughts.
Under the Studio System, actors were groomed from head to toe and taught how to dress, how to walk, how to dance, how to become polished performers. When “talkies” appeared (around 1927), a good voice and a clear diction became indispensable tools of an actor’s panoply.
In those days, directors paid great attention to the quality of the movie soundtrack and the sound man was a very important cog of the filmmaking process. Directors did not hesitate to do multiple takes of a scene if the sound quality was not satisfactory, and many silent era careers floundered due to unpalatable voices or poor diction.
Today paradoxically, with a proliferation of sophisticated recording devices, the sound quality of many movies is noticeably inferior to the soundtracks of the Studio System era. This is partly due to the fact that nowadays, look is more important than sound, and that some actors are not polished enough to deliver their lines properly.
And flat screen television sets tiny loudspeakers tend to exacerbate the audio problem. They are obviously not up to the task of delivering quality sound.
And that’s why (for a while) I decided to use captions to assist in comprehending my boob tube sessions.
But the problem with closed captions is that they often mask crucial shots and they are not always properly synchronized with the actors’ lines.
After putting up with this unsatisfying process, I decided to buy a “sound bar” (a slim device containing multiple speakers) to enhance the sound of my television set.
But as I found out, adding a sound bar to a television set is not an easy task.
Today, a high percentage of television viewers subscribe to cable and have multiple devices connected to their cable box. They have to bypass the remote control that originally came with their television set in favor of the remote control device provided by the cable company.
But when you connect an additional component to your cable box, you need to reprogram your remote control to accommodate the new component, and this procedure can be highly problematic.
Instructions provided with electronic components are often difficult to understand, incomplete or not solely applying to the device that you bought.
And while fiddling with the remote control device, you are always afraid of messing up what you already so painfully trained the beast to do.
That’s why after fruitlessly spending a great deal of time trying to reprogram my cable remote control device, I sent the sound bar back to its makers.
And you might also understand why I have a soft spot for easy on the eye, clear sounding black and white movies that don’t needlessly tax your already challenged hearing.
Bite me if you can!