Before “talkies” as you know, there were silent movies, often with text captions to show you roughly what people were saying. You may have seen some of the silent classics on late night TV; there’s some great acting in silent films.
I think we’re going to get another chance to see silent movies. Many manufacturers are betting that the general world wants to have cell phones and PDAs that can show movies. This is NOT like integrating an audio player with a cell phone! Movies require a lot more concentration, and you have to wonder when people will make time to watch a movie on the small screen. My rather cynical idea is that we’ll be happy to watch on our phones while pretending to pay attention to a class or a meeting. We can pull a sly one pretty easily then, as long as we don’t have to listen to the movie. We’ll need silent video, captions and all! Give me a comedian as funny as Buster Keaton, and I can get through any boring meeting.