Jen Chaney at the Washington Post notes that “The Telegraph has reported that a “small number of refunds” have been issued to moviegoers in the United Kingdom who complained because «The Artist» — a movie that is quite clear about the fact that it is a silent film — doesn’t have any spoken dialogue in it.” She adds “If you’ve seen even five seconds of a commercial for «The Artist», glanced briefly at any moment of the recent Golden Globes telecast or read the briefest possible synopsis of the film, how could you not know it was silent?”
Reminds me of the time many decades ago when my wife and I went to a Sydney art cinema to see Martin Scorcese’s 1978 film «The Last Waltz», which documents the final concert by The Band. The concert was held at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on November 25, 1976, and featured one of the most extensive lineups of prominent guest performers at a single concert, including Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, Ronnie Wood and Van Morrison. Wikipedia says that “The Last Waltz is hailed as one of the greatest concert films ever made”.
As we waited in line to buy our tickets, we overheard the ticket-seller patiently explaining to two little old ladies from New York that alas, the film did not contain any waltzing.
“No waltzes? Not even one?” asked one of the ladies, disappointed and bewildered.
“I’m sorry, madam. Just rock and roll, I’m afraid, all in four-four time.”