A book on sound cinema in France. The worldwide conversion to sound cinema circa 1930 is typically described in terms of dissolution of a rich diversity of national film styles into an international, Hollywood-derived «canned theatre.» Sound cinema thus serves as an ideal-typical case of one of today's most pervasive assumptions, the notion that globalization produces cultural homogeneity. A study of film practice in France, however, suggests the need for an alternative understanding of modernity's cultural effects, one that accounts for ways in which global technologies are indigenized in specific localities. As is indicated by an analysis of dozens of films and of accounts of film practice in trade publications and other sources, filmmaking in France rested on uniquely local types of film practice. Most fundamental was the use of location-recorded «direct» sound. In contrast to filmmakers in other countries, filmmakers in France often worked on location, recording sound simultaneously with the image, regardless of the financial costs and technical difficulties. Among the results was an emphasis on the materiality of voices, bodies and locales. The latter distinguished French films of the 1930s from Hollywood films, and thus allowed the French film industry to compete for the domestic film market.