Introduction: From Silent to Sound: Cinema in Scotland in the 1930s



Neely S & Vélez-Serna M (2019) Introduction: From Silent to Sound: Cinema in Scotland in the 1930s. Visual Culture in Britain, 20 (3), pp. 195-201.

First paragraph: Like any other moment of industrial and institutional transformation, the transition from silent to sound cinema was less linear and inevitable than hindsight would suggest. There was nothing obvious about the emergence of the feature-length fiction film with its unbroken soundtrack of dialogue and music. This special issue uses a tight focus on a few hectic years, and on a peripheral region within a hegemonic power: Scotland, a film-hungry nation with an oversized filmic image. Scotland shared a language with, and exerted a strong diasporic influence on, Hollywood as a film metropolis and London as a seat of the global cinema trade. At the same time, its internal market was too small to sustain production beyond local actualities, so most of the fictional representations of Scottishness that appeared on Scotland’s screens were crafted elsewhere. In relation to the centres of production, Scotland was a marginal nation, but fantasy Scotlands proliferated in films produced in those dominant centres.1 The transition to sound, as a moment of consolidation but also of instability, presents an ideal opportunity to observe these contradictory forces of proximity and marginality at play.

Visual Culture in Britain: Volume 20, Issue 3

Publication date31/12/2019
Publication date online10/01/2020
Date accepted by journal10/01/2020
PublisherInforma UK Limited

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Dr Maria Velez Serna

Dr Maria Velez Serna

Lecturer, Communications, Media and Culture