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The Sounds of Realism in 'Master and Commander'

Russell Crowe stars as Jack Aubrey, a captain in the British Navy, in <I>Master and Commander</I>, a film adaptation of the seafaring novels by Patrick O'Brian.
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Russell Crowe stars as Jack Aubrey, a captain in the British Navy, in <I>Master and Commander</I>, a film adaptation of the seafaring novels by Patrick O'Brian.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World sails into movie theaters Friday. Like the Patrick O'Brian books on which it is based, the film strives to recreate naval life during the Napoleonic era as authentically as possible, paying close attention to everything from uniforms, flags, ships and armaments, to perhaps the most challenging element: the sound of it all.

To create a rich sonic world of naval warfare and high seas chases, sound designer Richard King and director Peter Weir spent months in a silent pursuit: reading O'Brian's novels for inspiration. The late author penned 20 historical adventures centered around Captain Jack Aubrey and ship's surgeon and naturalist Stephen Maturin. King says none of the sound effects in the film, which stars Russell Crowe, were prepackaged.

NPR's Michele Norris talks with King.

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