Learning to Speak Soviet: Soviet Cinema and the Coming of Sound

Lilya Kaganovsky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Electric companies, along with studios and the popular press, argues Crafton, helped to create a climate of acceptance for the coming of sound cinema. In this chapter, the author uses Crafton as a starting point for thinking about the Soviet transition to sound, which did and did not resemble that of Hollywood. The conversion to sound played a major role in transition, allowing for a more immediate transmission of party slogans, and ideological directives. Other major transformations that directly affected the conversion to sound included the development and refurbishing the USSR's principal production, distribution, and exhibition facilities. In early Soviet sound film, there is a preponderance of loudspeakers, radios, gramophones, and other devices for reproducing sound that underscore sound cinema's ability to directly address the viewer. The emphasis on multilingualism and translation is coupled with a reliance on American specialists to provide instruction to the Soviet labor force.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to Russian Cinema
EditorsBirgit Beumers
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781118424773
ISBN (Print)9781118412763
StatePublished - May 20 2016


  • Multilingualism
  • Soviet labor force
  • Soviet sound film
  • Soviet transition
  • USSR's principal production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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