In 1626, Dutch traders bought Manhattan for $28 of beads and gift product. Within 30 years, there were 1,000 residents, and 300 years later, there were 8 million. This film celebrates the ... See full summary »
In 1626, Dutch traders bought Manhattan for $28 of beads and gift product. Within 30 years, there were 1,000 residents, and 300 years later, there were 8 million. This film celebrates the muscle, size, and majesty of Manhattan, starting at the river's edge where a huge-jawed steam shovel dredges. It's on to an ocean liner, then to a hole in the ground where men swing pickaxes, sledgehammers, and shovels. The camera then slowly examines a stately building by the shore. Behind and beside it is the city. Written by
The title of this film refers to Manhattan, bought by Dutch colonists from local Indians for that price. By 1925, on the 300th anniversary of its purchase, needless to say, it had altered considerably, and in this film the viewer is offered a vision of contemporary Manhattan, with awesome cityscapes and busy waterways. In this, it is quite similar to many other 'city view' films.
Personally, I found it as engaging as a similar film 'Manhatta', though its style was a little different. A better range of city sights was shown than in Manhatta, without such attention to style as the former.
Incidentally, the director and photographer of this film, Robert Flaherty, also worked on the early documentary 'Nanook of the North', 'Man of Aran', and worked with Murnau on his 'Tabu of the South Seas'.
I quite enjoyed this one. There was plenty to look at for those curious about big city life in the early 1900, but without the overt artistic pretensions of other such films, and without the one-sided attention to a singular aspect of a city, such as in 'Skyscraper Symphony'. Which is not to say that it is entirely artless, but rather that it allows the city itself to emerge as the main 'actor' in the film, unimpeded by snazzy editing or other more 'cinematic' effects.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?