Movie Trivia: The Wilhelm Scream

If you compare films as they were made fifty years ago with the films of today, almost everything seems to have changed. It's not just that, obviously, there are different actors and directors around, the technology of movies has also jumped forward, with all kinds of CGI, supersized IMAX film formats, and Dolby Surround or THX sound systems.
However, one man, whose identity may be forever a mystery, has persisted throughout all these decades of movie making. He is commonly referred to as "Wilhelm", and his contribution to the cinema is called the Wilhelm scream. The Wilhelm scream is simply the sound of a man screaming in what sounds like mortal agony, and it was first used in a movie in 1951. Over the decades, sound engineers for movies have used the same sound over and over again, and in 1977, sound engineer Ben Burtt, working on a little movie called "Star Wars", included it in that blockbuster. It was Burtt who gave the scream its name, since he had found a movie in which a certain Wilhelm utters it. Since "Star Wars", using the Wilhelm scream in a movie (where appropriate) is almost a must, and it appears anywhere from "Reservoir Dogs" to "Howard the Duck". So have a listen and be on the lookout (or 'hearout' rather).
Click here to hear the Wilhelm scream.

Posted by cronopio at 01:42 PM, September 06, 2005