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100 Years at the Movies (1994)

Commemorates the centennial of American movies with a montage of clips and music scores from the most important movies of the century.

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Storyline

The first commercially available movie in the United States aired on Broadway in New York City on April 14, 1894. The footage shown there was viewed through a narrow slot in a former shoe store. This short film celebrates the first 100 years of American movies from that time. With certain themes often tying them together, clips from landmark American movies are shown in somewhat chronological order, the clips played over an orchestral score, which is often itself based on landmark movie scores. Seventeen movies are specially mentioned, these seventeen perhaps not the best or most influential movies, but rather ones that provide insight to movies from that era. Written by Huggo

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Documentary | Short

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Trivia

Chuck Workman also directed the similar short Precious Images (1986). See more »

Crazy Credits

Turner Entertainment gratefully acknowledges the distributors, production organizations, labor organizations, and the many individuals whose talent and gracious assistance made this 100th Anniversary celebration possible. See more »

Connections

Features Cops (1922) See more »

Soundtracks

Ballad of Easy Rider
Written by Roger McGuinn
Performed by The Byrds
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User Reviews

 
"It was a modest beginning to 100 years of magical memories and unforgettable images"
14 March 2009 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

One of my favourite short films of all time is 'Precious Images (1986),' an unforgettable montage tribute to nearly a century of American cinema. After winning an Oscar for his efforts, director Chuck Workman updated the film to coincide with the centenary of American cinema. Indeed, his supreme editing skills were in high demand during the mid-1990s, when many film associations – AMPAS, AFI, TCM – were celebrating one hundred years of movies. '100 Years at the Movies (1994),' commissioned by Turner Classic Movies, is a roughly-chronological nine-minute tribute to American movies. Whereas 'Precious Images' was an indiscriminate barrage of moments from any era, though typically tied to a central theme or genre, here Workman's chronology allows the viewer to appreciate the aesthetic and thematic progression of the medium; for example, the abrupt transition from the silent slapstick farce of Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd, to the quick-witted screwball comedy of Mae West, Cary Grant and the Marx Brothers. Most of all, however, it's about reliving all those wonderful memories.

Each regular viewing of 'Precious Images' usually moves me to tears, such is the flood of emotions that accompanies each cinematic image. '100 Years at the Movies' doesn't cover as much ground as its predecessor, offering only a snapshot of the landmark pictures of the twentieth century, and perhaps unduly ascribing more screen-time to some movies over others. The various diverse film clips are generally integrated beautifully, especially a transition from Fred and Ginger in 'Swing Time (1936)' to Gene and Leslie in 'An American in Paris (1951).' Perhaps the only misstep in Workman's editing is his decision to synchronise a clip from 'Lawrence of Arabia (1962)' with Monty Norman's James Bond theme from 'Dr. No (1962)' – same year, but different genre! Nevertheless, the film is a treasure of memories for anybody who calls themselves a film buff, resurrecting all those moments whose emotions you had almost forgotten. Additionally, the film served as inspiration for me to see those classics that I haven't gotten around to yet – 'Greed (1923)' and 'The Crowd (1928),' for example.


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