The primary steps in the commercialization of sound cinema were taken in the mid-to-late 1920s. At first, the sound films which included synchronized dialogue, known as \"talking pictures\", or \"talkies\", were exclusively shorts. The earliest feature-length movies with recorded sound included only music and effects. The first feature film originally presented as a talkie (although it had only limited sound sequences) was The Jazz Singer, which premiered on October 6, 1927. A major hit, it was made with Vitaphone, which was at the time the leading brand of sound-on-disc technology. Sound-on-film, however, would soon become the standard for talking pictures.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Japan was one of the world's two largest producers of motion pictures, along with the United States. Though the country's film industry was among the first to produce both sound and talking features, the full changeover to sound proceeded much more slowly than in the West. It appears that the first Japanese sound film, Reimai (Dawn), was made in 1926 with the De Forest Phonofilm system. Using the sound-on-disc Minatoki system, the leading Nikkatsu studio produced a pair of talkies in 1929: Taii no musume (The Captain's Daughter) and Furusato (Hometown), the latter directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. The rival Shochiku studio began the successful production of sound-on-film talkies in 1931 using a variable-density process called Tsuchibashi. Two years later, however, more than 80 percent of movies made in the country were still silents. Two of the country's leading directors, Mikio Naruse and Yasujirō Ozu, did not make their first sound films until 1935 and 1936, respectively. As late as 1938, over a third of all movies produced in Japan were shot without dialogue.
Most of India's early talkies were shot in Bombay, which remains the leading production center, but sound filmmaking soon spread across the multilingual nation. Within just a few weeks of Alam Ara's March 1931 premiere, the Calcutta-based Madan Pictures had released both the Hindi Shirin Farhad and the Bengali Jamai Sasthi. The Hindustani Heer Ranjha was produced in Lahore, Punjab, the following year. In 1934, Sati Sulochana, the first Kannada talking picture to be released, was shot in Kolhapur, Maharashtra; Srinivasa Kalyanam became the first Tamil talkie actually shot in Tamil Nadu. Once the first talkie features appeared, the conversion to full sound production happened as rapidly in India as it did in the United States. Already by 1932, the majority of feature productions were in sound; two years later, 164 of the 172 Indian feature films were talking pictures. Since 1934, with the sole exception of 1952, India has been among the top three movie-producing countries in the world every single year.
The first sound feature film to receive near-universal critical approbation was Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel); premiering on April 1, 1930, it was directed by Josef von Sternberg in both German and English versions for Berlin's UFA studio. The first American talkie to be widely honored was All Quiet on the Western Front, directed by Lewis Milestone, which premiered April 21. The other internationally acclaimed sound drama of the year was Westfront 1918, directed by G. W. Pabst for Nero-Film of Berlin. Historian Anton Kaes points to it as an example of \"the new verisimilitude [that] rendered silent cinema's former emphasis on the hypnotic gaze and the symbolism of light and shadow, as well as its preference for allegorical characters, anachronistic.\" Cultural historians consider the French L'Âge d'Or, directed by Luis Buñuel, which appeared late in 1930, to be of great aesthetic import; at the time, its erotic, blasphemous, anti-bourgeois content caused a scandal. Swiftly banned by Paris police chief Jean Chiappe, it was unavailable for fifty years. The earliest sound movie now acknowledged by most film historians as a masterpiece is Nero-Film's M, directed by Fritz Lang, which premiered May 11, 1931. As described by Roger Ebert, \"Many early talkies felt they had to talk all the time, but Lang allows his camera to prowl through the streets and dives, providing a rat's-eye view.\" 1e1e36bf2d