ABSTRACT

Movies had a short shelf life during the early years of Hollywood's golden age, before television reruns and emergence of information storage technologies like VHS and DVD ensured their re-watchability. This chapter argues talker remakes of the 1930s and the paratexts surrounding them helped to construct and communicate a cinematic past and archive. Historical perspectives on Hollywood's remaking practices are largely absent from the research done in remake studies. Drawing on film-historical studies that examine the transition from silent to sound cinema and often refer to the 1930s wave of talker remakes, the chapter engages in what Jonathan Gray has termed off-screen studies in order to explore a very specific moment in film history from a remake studies perspective and open it up for further investigation and debate. The author argues different paratexts provided interpretive frameworks for understanding the sound innovation and its impact on Hollywood cinema, both on the level of individual films and within a larger film-historical context.