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A part-talkie is a partly, and most often primarily, silent film which includes one or more synchronous sound sequences with audible dialog or singing. During the silent portions lines of dialog are presented as "titles" -- printed text briefly filling the screen -- and the soundtrack is used only to supply musical accompaniment and sound effects. In the case of feature films made in the US, nearly all such hybrid films date to the 1927-1929 period of transition from "silents" to full-fledged "talkies" with audible dialog throughout. The famous so-called "first talking picture", The Jazz Singer (1927), starring Al Jolson, is in fact a part-talkie. It features only about fifteen minutes of singing and talking, interspersed throughout the film, while the rest is a typical silent film with "titles" and only a recorded orchestral accompaniment.


As the financial success of early part-talking feature-length sound films such as The Jazz Singer and The Singing Fool became apparent, producers of silent films which were currently in production, or which had recently been completed but not released, hastened to add or retrofit synchronized dialog sequences so that their films could be advertised as "talking pictures" to a newly sound-hungry public. "You will hear the characters speak from the screen!" the ads could truthfully promise, even if all the audible speech was confined to one brief sequence in an...
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