Directors: Max Fleischer & F. Lyle Goldman
Production Date:
June 21, 1929
Rating: ★★★

Finding his Voice © Max FleischerWell, here’s a real treat: an educational/promotional film directed by Max Fleischer & F. Lyle Goldman to explain sound film, right from the era in which this new feat. was introduced.

The film starts with a sound film role changing into a cartoon figure. The sound film takes a silent film to a professor, who explains how sound film works. The film is most interesting, for it clearly shows the tremendous amount of changes that had to be made to make sound film work.

For example, in live action films the camera was now placed inside a box to prevent the primitive sound recording microphone from catching up the sound of the camera itself. And theaters, too, had to invest in the change. The screen had to be porous to let the sound through produced by giant loudspeakers behind the screen.

The designs and animation of this little film is still firmly rooted in the 1920s, and the animation is remarkably stiff, especially when compared to contemporary Disney cartoons. And although the characters talk a lot, lip synchronization is only suggested, but not really there. In fact, Fleischer would mostly neglect lip synchronization way until the end of the 1930s, only using it minimally. The voice over, too, is a little bit dull and hesitating in explaining the processes, but in the end this film is too unique a document of its time not to enjoy.

Watch ‘Finding his Voice’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Finding his Voice’ is available on the DVD ‘Cultoons! Rare, Lost and Strange Cartoons! Volume 2: Animated Education’ and on the DVD box set ‘Popeye the Sailor 1941-1943’