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Traffic Regulations (1929)

 -  Short | Comedy  -  February 1929 (USA)
5.0
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Ratings: 5.0/10 from 15 users  
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Citizen Stewart demonstrates the wonders of the changes made in New York City traffic regulations by the current administration, using visual aids.

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Title: Traffic Regulations (1929)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Donald Ogden Stewart ...
Himself
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Storyline

A speaker on a stage presents a report on the traffic conditions in the theater district of New York City, which he says have improved considerably. After giving some examples of how bad the traffic in the area has been in the past, he displays a large map of the district. He then uses the map to point out landmarks and recommended routes. Written by Snow Leopard

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Genres:

Short | Comedy

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February 1929 (USA)  »

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1.20 : 1
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Quotes

Donald Ogden Stewart: Oh, everything is great under Mr. Whalen, and in order to help you get to the theater, now I've prepared a series of maps that I call the Grover Whalen maps in honor of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and if you use these maps, I can assure you that you will get to the theater practically the same night that you start.
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Connections

Edited into Robert Benchley and the Knights of the Algonquin (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Good Material, But Would Have Worked Better In A Different Format
19 December 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

Writer and humorist Donald Ogden Stewart came up with some good material for this short comedy, and it has some good moments. But in general it really would have worked better under a different format. It most likely would even have worked better simply as printed text, with his map printed for the reader to enjoy for himself or herself.

The movie satirizes the traffic conditions in the theater district of New York City, and even without being familiar with the time and place, it is not hard to 'get' the jokes. Stewart appears as a speaker on a plain stage, and later on displays a large map of the area, filled with comic details. The format almost certainly aimed to duplicate Robert Benchley's approach in his short comedies, which he had started to make in 1928. Stewart's on-screen style, though, does not work as well as Benchley's does.

Although the topic is promising and it does lead to some good moments, the delivery style does not make the most of the material, and the map would really be funnier if you were allowed to read it for yourself and to enjoy the details at leisure. Having a speaker talking about it and pointing out the areas of emphasis actually causes it to lose something in this case.

In the early years of the era of all-sound movies, there was a lot to be learned not only about the best ways of filming the material, but even about what kinds of material would work the best. Many early sound movies chose their subjects solely for the amount of dialogue that they contained, and it would take a little while for film-makers to become more skilled in selecting subjects that particularly lent themselves to film.


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