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Sound-Image Experiment: Part 2

by Jeremy Butler

In the original commercial, shots of happy, productive workers are accompanied by a song about the joys of car assembly. The narrator sings/shouts, “Turn her out, Henry! Turn her out, Joe! We’ll put her together and watch her go!” The images show “Henry” and “Joe” “turning her out”. And the music punctuates the narrator’s exhortations with brass fanfares (there is no sound directly from the presumably deafening factory floor). It’s a clear, rhetorical, supportive use of song and music. 

However, this clip shows what happens if we change the music to make an editorial point. First, we replace the original audio with a slow, sorrowful classical piece: Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1. Now the images of work on the assembly line no longer seem joyful and productive. The grin of Henry is contradicted by the plaintive music and perhaps even made grotesque.

Dodge Commercial: Gymnopedie Variation

A Dodge commercial with Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1 replacing the original audio.

from Dodge commercial (1957)
Creator: Dodge
Posted by Jeremy Butler