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Explore the old Transatlantic dialect

Barrie Kreinik

Have you ever wondered where that old movie sound came from? You know the one: when actors sound not quite British but not quite American.

Wonder no more, as Paul explores the Transatlantic dialect on this month’s In a Manner of Speaking podcast. Paul’s guest is Barrie Kreinik (actor, singer, writer, dialect coach, audiobook narrator and IDEA editor), who has recently released The Queen of Fourteenth Street, an audiobook celebrating the life of actress Eva Le Gallienne, who spoke with a Transatlantic sound. Paul and Barrie are joined by podcast co-producer and film critic and historian Cameron Meier. Go here to listen.

Episode 78 (Transatlantic and Old Movie Dialects)

Barrie Kreinik
Barrie Kreinik

Cinephiles and time-travel enthusiasts are in for a treat with the July 2024 podcast, as the topic is the American dialect known as Transatlantic, Mid-Atlantic, American Stage Speech, or Upper-class American. Paul’s guests are Barrie Kreinik (dialect coach, IDEA associate editor, actor, singer, writer, and audiobook narrator) and podcast co-producer Cameron Meier (film critic and historian, and executive editor of IDEA).

Barrie has a unique take on the dialect, as she has just released The Queen of Fourteenth Street, an audiobook celebrating the life of actress Eva Le Gallienne, who spoke in a dialect similar to Transatlantic. And Cameron’s movie background adds another dimension to the conversation, as the three discuss the accent in the context of older Hollywood movies.

Barrie’s theatre credits include The Dead, 1904 (Irish Rep), When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout (Fallen Angel Theatre), 39 Steps (Union Square Theatre), Fiddler on the Roof (Goodspeed Musicals), and The How and the Why (Trinity Rep). As a singer and songwriter, she has performed at Birdland, 54 Below, The Bitter End, and the Laurie Beechman Theatre. A recipient of two Audie Awards and ten Earphones Awards, she has narrated over 200 audiobooks, including numerous national bestsellers and one of The New York Times Best Audiobooks of 2022. She specializes in accents and dialects, particularly those of the British Isles, and has been a freelance dialect coach for nearly two decades.

Eva Le Gallienne

Barrie’s original audio drama, The Queen of Fourteenth Street, was released by Hachette Audio in June 2024. As a playwright, she’s been a semifinalist in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Ashland New Plays Festival, and the Garry Marshall Theatre New Works Festival, and her plays have been workshopped at Trinity Rep and the Bechdel Project. She has also written and performed in two solo shows, a short film, and an episode of the web series Love in NY. Her essays have been published by LitHub, Months to Years, and Theaterhound, and she writes a creative nonfiction blog called Points of View.

A native of Hartford, Connecticut, and longtime resident of New York City, Barrie holds an MFA in Acting from Brown/Trinity Rep and a BA in Theatre and English from Cornell. Find out more at, on Instagram (@barriebarriepix), and on her IDEA editor page.

Cameron Meier
Cameron Meier

To learn more about Cameron, visit or his editor page on IDEA.

Snippets of most of the clips below were featured on this month’s podcast under the copyright doctrine of fair use. They are presented here in more complete form for your enjoyment and research. We also suggest listening to Mo Rocca’s “Death of an Accent” episode from his Mobituaries podcast, on Apple podcasts.

Eva Le Gallienne interview with Dick Cavett, 1977:

William F. Buckley on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson:

Singin’ in the Rain, 1952:

Bringing Up Baby, 1938:

Now, Voyager, 1942:

The Third Man, 1949:

Bette Davis interview with Dick Cavett, 1970s:

Eleanor Roosevelt speech on human rights, 1951:

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, 1963:

Eva Le Gallienne, in Resurrection, 1980:

(Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G Major BMV 1007 Prelude (by Ivan Dolgunov) is courtesy of Jamendo Licensing.)