Dorothy Arzner and the boom mic

Object On display

Director Dorothy Arzner had a problem on the set of The Wild Party (1929). Her lead actress, silent-era ‘It’ girl Clara Bow, was having trouble transitioning to talkies. Bow was famous for her energetic, flapper-style performances, which she couldn’t do while being still for the microphone to record her dialogue. To let Clara move freely, Arzner rigged a microphone to a fishing rod and created the first ever boom mic. It wasn’t Arzner’s only achievement: The Wild Party was the first talkie directed by a woman, and she was the first female member of the Directors Guild of America – not to mention she made over 20 films during her illustrious career.

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On display until

16 February 2031

ACMI: Gallery 1

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Curatorial section

The Story of the Moving Image → Moving Pictures → MI-05. Sound and Colour → MI-05-C02


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