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Panorama from the Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge (1899)

Filmed from the Brooklyn tower of the bridge, this is a panorama starting at Manhattan's Battery and then panning northward along the East River shoreline.
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Filmed from the Brooklyn tower of the bridge, this is a panorama starting at Manhattan's Battery and then panning northward along the East River shoreline. Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

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bridge | new york | travel | See All (3) »

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Documentary | Short

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1.36 : 1
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Early widescreen film remains to be seen
11 April 2011 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

Billy Bitzer's 360-degree panorama capturing Lower Manhattan, as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge vantage point, is available in a very poor quality print transfer on Vol. 5 of UNSEEN CINEMA, the Anthology Film Archives compilation for DVD.

This was filmed in 65mm (that's 70mm with room for sprocket holes), meaning a widescreen movie at roughly 2:1 aspect ratio (like THE BAT WHISPERS). IMDb has the wrong ratio listed and lists the film as 1899 while Anthology calls it of 1903 vintage.

This brings up an interesting point regarding "lost films". Is a film lost when the proper materials have been lost? Many interesting films, ranging from historical titles to just '60s and '70s sex movies, only exist in battered prints or partial prints after the wear and tear of so many decades, and failure to preserve negatives. The term "lost" is generally reserved for completely lost titles, where nothing has survived.

In the case of this Bitzer work, what has survived and is shown on DVD is virtually worthless. I can imagine seeing a 70mm print projected (presumably at Museum of Modern Art) and seeing a crystal clear documentary view, but this poor quality junk presumably from a battered 16mm print does not do the master justice.


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