The Master’s Voice
Claudia Gorbman addresses the integral role of the voice in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (2012). This film offers a particularly apt occasion to consider a striking vocal performance at the height of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s career. For if Kozloff can talk about “the unique alchemy … of that actor,” and if Barthes writes about the thrill he derives from hearing the recorded voice of the French baritone Charles Panzera, one realizes that in a new age of film acting, at least with some actors like Hoffman, the essential, recognizable voice need no longer prevail. This essay is accompanied by video clips that demonstrate the results of the masterful role of the voice in The Master.