Paris, Oeuvres complètes ("Collected Works"), Club de l'Honnête Homme, 1970.
The following essay is nothing but the account of my debut in the art of film making, followed by a brief history of the birth of talking films, and by a theory on new means of expression derived from my experience.
Pierre Blanchar came in and sat at my table. Unfolding his napkin, he said:
- I am back from London where I saw something wonderful and extraordinary: a talking film...
- Did you see an entire film?
- Yes, a film that lasted one and a half hours. Actors talk just like you and I, the illusion is perfect, it's incredible. You have to go and see that. The title is Broadway Melody and the film is shown at the Palladium in London.
On the following day, at two o'clock in the afternoon, I was sitting in the first row on the balcony of a vast theatre and was listening to the talking image of Miss Bessie Love. Her recorded voice was not unpleasant; but when she sobbed you couldn't help thinking of a small dog barking inside a barrel. Yet, the performance was a very important event to me. I went back to watch the movie again on the same evening, and twice again on the following day, then I went back home, my imagination firing with theories and projects. Talking films, following some technical improvements, would be our new means of expressing drama.