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Mechanical Principles (1930)

| Documentary, Short
Close up we see pistons move up and down or side to side. Pendulums sway, the small parts of machinery move. Gears drive larger wheels. Gears within gears spin. Shafts turn some mechanism ... See full summary »

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Close up we see pistons move up and down or side to side. Pendulums sway, the small parts of machinery move. Gears drive larger wheels. Gears within gears spin. Shafts turn some mechanism that is out of sight. Screws revolve and move other gears; a bit rotates. More subtle mechanisms move other mechanical parts for unknown purposes. Weights rise and fall. The movements, underscored by sound, are rhythmic. Circles, squares, rods, and teeth are in constant and sometimes asymmetrical motion. These human-made mechanical bits seem benign and reassuring. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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gear | piston | mechanic | machine | See All (4) »

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Documentary | Short

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Good Short That Uses Imagination
1 May 2011 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Mechanical Principles (1930)

*** (out of 4)

Imaginative short from Ralph Steiner is a 100% visual feast as we see close up shots of pendulums swaying, pistons going up and down or side to side and various other mechanical operations. This is just one of many shorts including on the UNSEEN CINEMA set, which also shows up on Turner Classic Movies ever so often. This is a pretty entertaining set of avant garde films and this one here contains some of the most imagination. I will admit that at 10-minutes I began to feel a bit drained towards the end but there's no question that the director put a lot of thought into the final product. I find that many avant garde films just try to show random images in a variety of ways just so the finished product can have some sort of strange or weird feel to it. That certainly happens here but the exception is that every shot seems to have been well thought out and placed in an order that makes the film run smoothly and not once do we just feel like we're seeing stuff pieced together without any thought. This is where the imagination comes from and what makes the film really set itself apart from others like it. Some reviewers have mentioned the possible influence on Chaplin's MODERN TIMES and that's certainly possible.


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