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Silent Conversation

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The audience (and usually third party) is observing a conversation between two characters, but no audio can be heard.

The actual content of that conversation remains a mystery to the audience save partial excerpts or references made by the parties who were there at the time. Though sometimes they are revealed entirely in a flashback at the end.

This will cause a lot of head-scratching and fanfics if the audience doesn't just go along with it.

Compare Inner Monologue Conversation. It's sort of the inverse of the Pose of Silence, when leaning closely or obscuring the mouth renders two speaking characters inaudible to everyone else besides the audience.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Irresponsible Captain Tylor has plenty of these: Harumi, revealed to be an android, tearfully shouting as her captain is being abducted while Yuriko looks on in surprise, Yuriko, with Tylor on the airstrip after asking him why he resigned, and Admiral Hanner in the OAV mini-series An Exceptional Episode whose conversation is revealed entirely at the end of the two episodes.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Brassed Off: When Gloria is playing Rodrigo's Concerto d'Aranjuez with the band, a meeting is seen between the management of the coal mine, and the union leaders. No dialogue is heard, but the meeting is very heated, with lots of exaggerated body language, which happens vaguely in time to the music. The result of this meeting is revealed in a later scene.
  • In The Lennon Report, when the backup police arrive at the Dakota, Cullen tells them what's going on and as they head for the vestibule, he stops Moran and you can see him say "It's John Lennon." There is just quiet music as John is put in the police car; Yoko rushes to the window crying "John, John," as Officer Claire Frank holds her; a moment later Frank says "Are you all right?" and as Yoko nods, "Okay. Come on."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the episode "Showtime" there's a scene in which Buffy, Willow, and Xander all exchange some meaningful looks without saying anything. A flashback at the end shows that they were having a telepathic conversation, setting up the plan for the rest of the episode.
  • Doctor Who, "Logopolis": The Doctor has a somber conversation with the Watcher, a mysterious, featureless being. We see it from the companion's perspective, across the freeway. (We never learn exactly what they talked about, but later we learn who the Watcher is.)
  • Fawlty Towers: In "A Touch of Class", there is a scene when Polly is in town, and she gets into a car with Danny, who speaks to her and shows her an ID card. During this scene, there is no dialogue, but a jaunty version of the theme music.
  • The Mentalist has one between Bosco and Jane. Afterward, Lisbon wants to know what Bosco told Jane, who only hints that Bosco wanted him to protect her.
  • The Office: Tim turns his mike off (it's a mockumentary) and goes to talk to Lucy. A very powerful use of this trope: we see them from the other side of a window, we hear dead silence, for 2 minutes. Afterwards, he says: "Just for the record, she said no."
  • In an episode of Seinfeld, George confronts a coworker over stealing an office nickname that he wanted. The conversation is watched by other coworkers through a window, while George waves his arms around and apparently yells at the guy. When the audience can hear the two again, he lets George have the nickname and asks him to stop crying.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In a Peanuts Sunday strip from the 1960s, Charlie Brown gets a phone call for Snoopy. During the call, Snoopy listens and laughs, but Charlie Brown doesn't know what the caller is saying.

    Video Games 



Video Example(s):


Silent Last Words

In the Ikari Team's ending, Whip and Zero exchange words, but only the movement of their lips is shown -- no dialogue is actually spoken.

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Main / SilentConversation

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