When we talk about the importance of sound in film, someone often says, in an attempt to bolster sound’s case, “What Would A Film Be Without Sound?”
Despite its good intentions I find statements like this to be insulting to sound. In a strange way they legitimize sound’s subordinate status. If you really believe sound should have equal status with the other creative crafts, then asking that question should be considered just as bizarre as asking “What would films be without visuals?”
Anyway, being necessary or even useful doesn’t automatically make it artistically crucial, which is what we’re really talking about. After all, the apparatus in the image pictured here is extremely useful too, but that doesn’t make it artistically important.