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Commuting through the hectic New York City.

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Commuting through the hectic New York City.

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jazz | See All (1) »

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Documentary | Short

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20 September 2011 (Greece)  »

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Trivia

This short documentary is featured on the Criterion Collection DVD for The Horse's Mouth (1958), released in 2002. See more »

Connections

Edited into Cinema16: American Short Films (2006) See more »

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"a short film for those with a short attention span"
15 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is what was said before this short was shown at a movie theater in NYC I got a chance to watch it in. I think it applies well; this is a short that is simply composed of images of the city circa mid 1950's. It's extraordinary not necessarily for what is shown alone, though first timer D.A. Pennebaker does overload the viewer with experiments in using the camera in traveling motion. I found that aspect of the film to stand well on its own terms from a purely visual perspective. But, like a Stan Brakhage film, you have to be very, very concentrated in your visual output and montage for this film to stand without anything else applied. So Pennebaker does something very wise by putting the film to one of Duke Ellington's briskest, most inspiring musical numbers. The director here knows well that, with the right music, the images work twice as effectively; in a way this is like one of the early, rough kind of music videos. That it's done to a number by one of America's best composers, never-mind Jazz musicians and orchestrator's, creates a special mood for it. It doesn't over-stay its length, and it fills up the swooping and careening subway and car shots with great tact. Like the one-line says, if you want a quick fix, here's one for those wondering what happened to MTV lately.


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