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Since the beginning of cinema, filmmakers have been infatuated with dynamic images of New York City. The 26 short films on this DVD lovingly depict scenes of New Yorkers among the skyscrapers, streets, and night life of America's greatest city during a half century of progress, while at the same time showing changes in film style and the history of cinema experiments. Avant-garde moments pop up in the most unlikely of places including turn-of-the-twentieth-century actualities, commercial and radical newsreels, and Busby Berkeley's spectacular "Lullaby of Broadway" from Gold Diggers of 1935. City symphonies are represented by such landmark American films as Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand's Manhatta (1921), Robert Flaherty's Twenty Four-Dollar Island (c.1926), Robert Florey's Skyscraper Symphony (1929), Jay Leyda's A Bronx Morning (1931), and Bonney Powell's Manhattan Medley (1931).
UNSEEN CINEMA is a collection of 155 short films, lovingly curated by experts at the Anthology Film Archives, who use footage found in 60 of the world's most renowned archives. When the motion picture camera was invented, early practitioners were filled with a sense of the limitless possibilities of this amazing mechanism. With its ability to mimetically reproduce reality, as well as its potential for the manipulation of images as well as time and space, the movie camera was truly a tool of progress and hope. Those who produced some of the most inventive and experimental short films of the time went on to make it big in Hollywood, but their earliest work contains a rebellious spirit that is lacking in their later studio pictures. On this volume, PICTURING A METROPOLIS, some of the earliest cinematic documents of the bustling urban center of New York City are compiled. These include film scholar Jay Leyda's A BRONX STORY, documentarian Robert Flaherty's TWENTY-FOUR DOLLAR ISLAND, and Paul Strand's MANHATTA.
"[I]t is an avant-gardist's wish list. The image is top quality, transferred from exceptionally good prints....It's a treasure, featuring ebullient primitive films..." 11/01/2005 p.70-71