The early silent films of Charlie Chaplin were masterpieces of entertainment. Yet, there was little to no soundtrack nor color. Even before that, audiences had to rely primarily on imagination in order to bring to life the voice-based scripts of radio. Since those initial attempts at conveying plot, a riveting account of history can be equally transformed by song and choreography, such as in Evita (1996) starring Madonna. For this matter, explore the requirement of prop and effect in adding to the effectiveness or detracting from the quality of film or television.
Now this could make for a fascinating article indeed! Might I also suggest including other silent greats such as Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and similar? It would be also be worth mentioning the role that the accompanying pianist had in helping to create mood for these early cinematic audiences/viewers. With regard to voice based scripts on radio, I once worked with a chap who gave me a fascinating insight into some of the everyday 'found' objects that were used to add audio effects. I'll never look at a sink plunger in the same way again! The Foley artist is a valued and essential part of film making these days, especially when, in some instances, up to 90% of dialogue and sounds effects are recreated after the shoot has actually finished. Having done ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording) myself I can certainly attest to how tough it can be for the actor to recreate the mood and emotion, sometimes months later, of the original performance. Props can be a boon to any performer, if used well, but they can also be a right pain in the backside if poorly maintained and will detract from a performance. Every actor has his or her horror stories about props that seem to take on a life of their own. Thumbs up from me and good luck to he or she who takes on this subject. – Amyus3 years ago