From that point film Peppy's career takes off. Over the next five years, the stock market crashes, the nation slips into the Great Depression, and the era of the silent film ends as talkies take over. No longer must actors overact and mug for the camera. Vocal sound allows nuance, subtlety and texture that silent films never could achieve. But the studios believe that viewers want fresh new actors, not silent film stars with voices. Peppy, who represents the new era, becomes America's Sweetheart, while George fades into obscurity and tries to drown his sorrows with alcohol. But Peppy always loved George, and she never forgot him.
Written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist was shot as a silent film in black and white, and in the old standard 4:3 aspect ratio. The only spoken dialogue occurs at the very end of the film, as the production studio is shooting a talkie. The film gives us an opportunity to re-experience the freedoms and the limitations inherent in a silent film. Personally, while I enjoyed and appreciated The Artist, in my humble opinion the definitive modern-era film about the silent film era and the transition to talkies is Chaplin: The Movie, starring Robert Downey, Jr., in an Oscar-nominated role, featuring a great script, supporting cast, soundtrack and cinematography. But, do enjoy The Artist… it's excellent film making and a great silent-film-era romance.