Classic Film : Dialogue in today's movies..

Dialogue in today's movies..

First off I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. This is something that I posted before at some point on this page and It's regarding dialogue in today's movies. Many times while watching a newer release I find my self rewinding because I couldn't understand what was said. The lines were either spoken very quickly or mumbled. Then after rewinding there are times when I still didn't know what was said. I've even turned on the subtitles at times. Seriously, I thought it was me but just recently my wife and I were in a discussion about films and someone brought up this very point. Lol, I know I'm getting older now I thought my hearing was going.


"She tried to sit in my lap while I was still standing up" Humphrey Bogart as Phillip Marlowe

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

In classic movies, dialog was dubbed after the scene was filmed exactly for this reason. Maybe this isn't being done anymore.

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

Interesting point. No, there's probably no dubbing going on at all.

"She tried to sit in my lap while I was still standing up" Humphrey Bogart as Phillip Marlowe

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

I have the same problem. I keep the subtitles on almost all the time during movies.

I don't like having to, but I don't like rewinding, it ruins the flow of the movie. I think a lot of it is the sound quality of the movie.

I asked people about it, and they heartily agree, they have the same problem. I have been getting older too, these last few years, especially!

Gee Woodle, Space Kadoodle!

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

Yes DanaShelby, It looks like we're all in this together! Thank you for your response.

"She tried to sit in my lap while I was still standing up" Humphrey Bogart as Phillip Marlowe

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

You have no idea what a relief this is to me!

Gee Woodle, Space Kadoodle!

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

When moving away from the control of a film done on a soundstage to provide a more realistic film, we have worse photography and lousy sound qualit. One has to watch film and TV shows with the captioning turned on.

One of my favorie shows, "Elementary," is difficult for me to follow because of mumbling lead Johnny Lee Miller. I watch the show on my iPad with headphones and still can't understand him. I didn't have this problem when he was "Eli Stone."

Get rid of jiggling cameras and properly mic the actors, or don't bother.

🎭All the world is a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

I agree. Why bother if the audience is missing out.


"She tried to sit in my lap while I was still standing up" Humphrey Bogart as Phillip Marlowe

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

WHAT dialogue??
Today's movies are nothing more than damned CGI!!!!

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

Haha, exactly! They all use the same tricks (twists, car chases, big breasts, shooting, CGI, etc)..

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

You need to watch Fences.

Want three steaks?... My mistake. Four steaks.

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

...and then, of course, most of the adult characters talk like teenagers.....

At least in classics, adults talked like adults.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

I have often complained about the quick mumblings and whisperings in present-day movies. It seems to be a penchant among actors but whether they are under instructions to do this I'm not sure.

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

I have the same feeling too. English is my second language but i have no problem to watch old films without subtitle. But modern films, i have to turn on subtitles to understand what actors are saying. I can turn the volume all the way up, then it won't be good for my ears if there are action scene or scene with loud soundtrack.

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

Thank you for all the feedback everyone. Interesting points, and I realize it's not just me.

"She tried to sit in my lap while I was still standing up" Humphrey Bogart as Phillip Marlowe

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

This was one of two things that stuck me when I started following modern movies after years of mainly focusing on classic films, and this has become a pet peeve of mine. There seems to be a great fear of "overacting" so the preference has become to just mumble/half-whisper their lines in a monotone voice. It's not just the dialogue, but the whole lifeless way actors perform these days. God forbid one might actually give the character some personality that wouldn't put the viewer to sleep. It's become comical.... but no one is laughing.

The other thing I shrug about a large amount of new films is the lack of competent storytelling. In the old days even the worst of films had a plot that was easy to follow. Now it's just a mishmash of half-finished ideas, often trying to make it "intellectual" without a clue how to communicate it, failing to tell even the simplest thing.

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

Thank Brando.

And yes, you (we) are getting old(er).

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

My husband and I noticed this too, not only for movies but also TV shows. We have to turn the volume up and we still have trouble hearing the newer films and TV episodes. Our hearing has been checked and we're fine (except there are times when the old man acts like he can't hear me.)

I will never let you part, for you are always in my heart: MJ
turn to page 394: Snape safety pin

Dialogue in today's movies.. TECHNICAL REASONS

Sound recording today - especially on location - may simply be due to poor usage of hand-held mic booms. That method of recording depends a lot on the physical strength and recording knowledge of the manual boom holder. It's a physically demanding job.

It's probably one of the last non-automated tasks in film-making today. But, the problem goes back to the late 1920's and early '30s when sound came in.

As others have said here, a sound stage almost eliminates background noise. The craft of sound recording on location also needs good sound recording engineers and mixers, who must ensure that recorded dialogue is understandable.

I usually have English subtitles on American and British movies because of poor sound quality.

E pluribus unum

Re: Dialogue in today's movies.. TECHNICAL REASONS

Might often be because of sloppy sound work, both in- and post-production, but the muffled dialogue in modern films is more down to actors/directors preference these days. The inaudible mumbling is at it's worst in the most controlled studio/small room environments. When they try to create as intimate conversation as they know how. Unfortunately the only way they seem to know now is whispers so low an uninspired they possibly can. It's all part of the toned down style they all learn in film school.

Re: Dialogue in today's movies.. TECHNICAL REASONS

Holy..., It seems crazy to go with mumbling, whispers, uninspired speech when making a film. If the film schools teach that the audience doesn't have to hear words, viewers can get a clue to what is being said by the situation in which it occurs.

The decision is made that only clues will be given, and interpretation is left to each person in the audience. Three people in the audience will hear the mumbling and come up with 3 different interpretations. Maybe, that's "art" today.

Robert Altman's movies were famous for overlapping dialogue. That sound was recorded expertly. Today's "art" is just lazy moviemaking.

E pluribus unum

Re: Dialogue in today's movies.. TECHNICAL REASONS

Was only assuming they learned the toned down style at school, because it's all over the place in todays movies, big & small, plus TV everywhere regardless of country made, though not so much in Asia where they often re-dub the dialogue or not afraid to give the acting a little color.

It's getting very annoying. Not just because of having to turn the volume up and down between loud action scenes and whispering dialogue scene, but there seemed to be such a lack of effort in the acting, almost a competition in who can reverse-ham their roles the most. Playing dead while reading ones lines....

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

I had the problem with Arrival;ironically a movie about the importance of communication no less. Some movies do it on purpose because they think it makes the conversations seem more naturalistic or whatever but Forrest Whitaker kept mumbling so bad it had to be poor direction.

Whatever you are, be a good one.

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

I agree with a lot of the individual critcisms,but overall this thread is a little bit too much Grumpy Old Men Deploring Everything That Happens Today for my taste.

Re: Dialogue in today's movies..

From my personal experience, I can tell you that much of the problem today is caused on the dubbing stage when the all the sounds are mixed together - dialogue, music, and SFX. In today's films almost always I feel that all other elements are recorded at levels that overwhelm the dialogue, which makes it hard to understand (mumbling aside, Brando was always intelligible before the days of THX, etc.).

Put succinctly, most films today are simply not mixed with the dialogue in mind. I hate it.

The time of the singing of the birds has come.
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