Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1928

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
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The Year 1928
Year
Event and Significance
1928
RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) Pictures, evolving originally from the Mutual Film Corporation (1912), was created in the merger of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), the Film Booking Office (FBO) and Keith-Albee-Orpheum, a major Vaudeville corporation. It was established as a subsidiary of RCA and joined the ranks of the major Hollywood studios.
1928
Director Roy William Neill's The Viking (1928) was the first feature-length Technicolor film that featured a soundtrack, and the first film made in Technicolor's Process 3.
1928
By 1928, Hollywood's major film studios had signed an agreement with AT&T/Western Electric's licensing division (ERPI, or Electrical Research Products, Inc.) to use their audio technologies to produce films with sound. They proceeded with the conversion of production facilities and theaters for sound film. This led to an explosion in the popularity of sound in cinema.
1928
The first Mickey Mouse film, Plane Crazy (1928), was debuted on May 15, 1928. The character of Mickey Mouse was modified from Disney's earlier character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
1928
The first all-talking cartoon short, Paul Terry's Dinner Time (1928) with synchronized sound was premiered, preceding Disney's Steamboat Willie (1928) by about a month. It was made after Warner Bros.' success with The Jazz Singer (1927).
1928
Walt Disney also introduced the first popular animated cartoons with synchronized sound later in this year: Steamboat Willie (on July 29, 1928, in limited release) and Galloping Gaucho (on August 2, 1928). Steamboat Willie - Mickey's first sound cartoon, was then re-released on November 18, 1928 with sound and premiered at the 79th Street Colony Theatre in New York - it was Disney's first cartoon with a post-produced synchronized soundtrack (of music, dialogue, and sound effects) and was considered Mickey Mouse's screen debut performance and birthdate. It was the first sound cartoon that was a major hit.
1928
The gangster melodrama The Lights of New York (1928) was released by Warner Brothers as the first 100% all-talking feature film, as a result of the phenomenal success of The Jazz Singer (1927) with just a few minutes of sound. This first Warner Bros. gangster film was unexpectedly successful, grossing over $2 million.
1928
Warner Brothers' second 'all-talking' picture was The Terror (1928) - director Roy Del Ruth's adaptation of Edgar Wallace's play regarding a haunted house terrorized by a homicidal asylum escapee. The film's many ads capitalized on the new feature of sound (creaking doors, howling winds, organ music), heard with the Vitaphone sound-on-disc process: "It will thrill you! Grip you! Set you into tremors of awe. HEAR this creepy tale of mystery - the baffling story of a detective's great triumph. With voices and shadows that will rack your nerves and make you like it. Come, hear them talk in this Vitaphone production of the play that has gripped London for over 3 years."
1928
Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer's startling and influential The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) used minimal sets, extremely oblique and other unusual camera angles, and excruciatingly huge close-ups to create a virtually new visual language soulfully expressive of the martyr's (Maria Falconetti) suffering psychology.
1928
Future star John Wayne (a former prop man) has often been credited as making his debut feature film appearance as an unbilled extra in director John Ford's melodrama Mother Machree (1928). But Wayne had already appeared as uncredited extras or bit players in films dating back to 1926, including Brown of Harvard (1926), Bardelys the Magnificent (1926), The Great K & A Train Robbery (1926), Annie Laurie (1927), and The Drop Kick (1927).
1928
Paramount became the first studio to announce that it would only produce "talkies."
1928
Warners' follow-up film and melodramatic musical, The Singing Fool (1928), was released in both sound and silent versions. It contained the first hit song from a talking movie soundtrack - Al Jolson's performance of Sonny Boy.
1928
MGM's first sound film (although it was part silent and part talkie) was director W.S. Van Dyke's epic adventure/romantic drama White Shadows in the South Seas (1928) - and it was also the first instance in which audiences heard MGM's logo/mascot Leo the Lion roar during the opening credits.
1928
Director Germaine Dulac released the classic The Seashell and the Clergyman) (1928, Fr.) (aka La Coquille et Le Clergyman), the first surrealist film, although many have claimed Un Chien Andalou (1929) by Luis Bunuel (and Salvador Dali) a year later was the first. The latter film, filled with irrational and shocking images, opened with the infamous scene of the slashing of a woman's eyeball with a razor blade.
1928
Broadway stage actor Humphrey Bogart had his film debut - and his first leading film role, opposite Helen Hayes, in the two-reel short The Dancing Town (1928). His success soon led to a film contract with the Fox Film Corporation.


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