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The Official Website of George R. Groves

The Oscar-Winning, Movie Sound Pioneer from St.Helens

George Groves-Related Sound Clips

On this page are streams of audio clips of George Groves reminiscing on his career, plus the thoughts of his sister Hilda and of former Association of Motion Picture Sound chairman Bob Allen. Plus a couple of soundtracks thrown in for good measure!
SOUND CLIP #1: George Groves (Oral History Pt. 1)

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The Vitagraph Studios and Don Juan - George Groves in his AFI oral history of 1973 describes the making of the experimental sound films including the Volga Boatmen at the Vitagraph Studios in Brooklyn. He discusses how he mixed the sound in the Manhattan Opera House for Don Juan and the Vitaphone shorts and relates the problems encountered. George also talks about the shellac discs used to record the films' soundtracks. Clip Duration: 7'01"
SOUND CLIP #2: Hilda Barrow On Her Brother George
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Hilda Barrow on George's Death - Hilda Barrow, George Groves' sister, was interviewed on the 5th August 1995 by the St.Helens Film Society. She discusses George's heart condition and death in 1976 and briefly assesses his role in the development of talking pictures. Hilda was then 92 years old and had been campaigning since 1993 for official recognition of her brother's achievements. She achieved her goal in 1996. Clip Duration: 61 seconds
SOUND CLIP #3:  George Groves (Oral History Pt. 2)
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George on The Jazz Singer - George Groves discusses how the talking sequences in The Jazz Singer  took everyone by surprise. He was the recordist on the seminal talking picture and describes his relationship with the star of the film, Al Jolson. He tells an anecdote of how, through his headphones, he overheard Jolie offering to pay for an operation for a sick child. He ends by describing his own role in the making of early sound films. Clip Duration: 4'29"
SOUND CLIP #4:  George Groves (Oral History Pt. 3)
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Early Movie Sound Technology - George Groves describes the technology used in the early Vitaphone pictures. He explains how the camera and cameraman were housed in soundproofed booths and how the microphones were connected to Condenser Transmitter Amplifiers and suspended from ropes. George discusses how the static nature of cameras and microphones led to inaction in the early sound films and how this was gradually overcome through technological improvements. Clip Duration: 6'46"
SOUND CLIP #5:  George Groves (Oral History Pt. 4)
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First Motion Picture Unit - George Groves discusses becoming Head of the Sound Department of the 1st Motion Picture Unit of the Army Air Force and the work undertaken by the unit during the second world war. He describes the top-secret film made in preparation for the bombing of Tokyo and some of the famous actors, writers and directors that he worked with. George enlisted in the Army Air Force on November 28th 1942 and was given the rank of Captain and later promoted to Major. Clip Duration: 3'35"
SOUND CLIP #6:  George Groves (Oral History Pt. 5)
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My Fair Lady - George Groves discusses the making of My Fair Lady a film he considered to be "the greatest joy". He describes the innovative use of radio microphones in the film through Rex Harrison's reluctance to conform to sound playbacks. George relates how they hid the microphone in various scenes using a tie and a silk scarf. He concludes this clip by describing his feelings in being presented with an Oscar for Best Sound by Claudia Cardinale and Steve McQueen at the Academy Awards ceremony of 1965. Clip Duration: 11'26"
SOUND CLIP #7:  Bob Allen on George Groves
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Bob Allen - Bob was a film sound recordist and mixer for over 40 years and in 1996 was Chairman of the Association of Motion Picture Sound, of which he had been a founder member. On the day of the St.Helens plaque unveiling, Bob reflected in interview on George Groves' pioneering work in film sound recording and spoke of his respect for him as the movie industry's first production sound mixer and first film music mixer. Clip Duration: 52 seconds
SOUND CLIP #8:  Don Juan Soundtrack
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Don Juan Sword Fight Soundtrack - Part of the sword fight soundtrack to Don Juan performed by the 107-strong New York Philharmonic Orchestra. George Groves made the recording at the Manhattan Opera House in New York, using six microphones instead of the standard one to obtain optimum sound quality. Note the sound effects of clashing swords which were created and synchronized live to the action. Clip Duration: 1' 33"
SOUND CLIP #9: George Groves (Oral History Pt. 6)
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Alfred Hitchcock - George Groves discusses working with director Alfred Hitchcock, a man he had great admiration for. He describes the amusing stories Hitch used to tell to cast and crew and how he always knew what he wanted from a film and its production staff. George concludes by relating how he was with Alfred Hitchcock when he ordered a composer for one of his films (thought to be Bernard Herrmann) to rewrite the film's score. Clip Duration: 3' 20"
SOUND CLIP #10:  The Jazz Singer
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You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet! - A clip of Al Jolson performing his celebrated ad-lib "Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain't heard nothin' yet!" which so engaged Jazz Singer theatre-goers in 1927. He then sings and whistles Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye. The sound recordist was, of course, George Groves who said Jolson’s words in the seminal sound film were "purely ad-lib without any rehearsal. Everybody just held their breath." Clip Duration: 2' 20"