Dorothy Arzner and the boom mic

Object

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 40 films during her illustrious career.

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On display until:

ACMI: Gallery 1

16 February 2031

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Constellation

Boom mics, Clara Bow and musicals

The microphone was called the "terror of the studios" when sound films were introduced in the late 1920s, but after initial resistance Hollywood fully embraced the new technology.

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Collection metadata

ACMI Identifier

181513

Curatorial section

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

Collected

1951 times

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