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Demolishing and Building Up the Star Theatre (1901)

Unrated | | Documentary, Short | April 1901 (USA)
Time-lapse photography is used to show the manual dismantling and demolition of New York's Star Theatre over a period of about 30 days.

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(uncredited)
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Storyline

This film shows the demolition of the historic Star Theatre building (formerly Wallack's) at the corner of Broadway and 13th Street, New York. To secure this unique picture a Biograph camera was kept constantly at work by specially devised electric apparatus for weeks, during which time exposures were made every four minutes, 8 hours a day. Before the contractors began their work of tearing down and after the last vestige of the building had been removed, 15 seconds of exposure at normal speed were made. Thus in the finished positive one views at first the old Star Theatre standing as it had for years looking down with serenity upon the bustle of Broadway traffic. Then as if struck by a tornado of supernatural strength, the building begins to crumble. Chimneys totters, walls cave in, and whole stories vanish, until at last the site shows only a cellar excavation; and the Broadway cars with the sidewalk procession continue as if nothing unusual had happened. When this view is shown in ... Written by AMB Picture Catalogue (1902)

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Genres:

Documentary | Short

Certificate:

Unrated
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Release Date:

April 1901 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Building Up and Demolishing the Star Theatre  »

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Trivia

One of the 50 films in the 4-disk boxed DVD set called "Treasures from American Film Archives (2000)", compiled by the National Film Preservation Foundation from 18 American film archives. This film was preserved by the Library of Congress. This version has a piano music score and runs 96 seconds. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Impressive in its Creativity
23 January 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Time-lapse photography is used to show the manual dismantling and demolition of New York's Star Theatre over a period of about thirty days.

I have to assume that the "building up" is simple dismantling shown in reverse, because if these builders were able to construct a theater in thirty days, that would be amazing in itself. But either way, is this the first time-lapse film? It had to be one of the first, and it really captures something grand.

We are also left to wonder about the building in the foreground that keeps taking its awning down and putting it back up up. While that was probably normal at he time, it seems strange today when awnings comes attached to the building and never go away.


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