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Terminal Bar (2003)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 199 users  
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A fascinating pictorial history of a New York City bar whose customers, from the hard-drinking working class Irish to the coiffed African American gay male, continually transform its focus during its 10-year reign.

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Title: Terminal Bar (2003)

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Sheldon Nadelman ...
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A fascinating pictorial history of a New York City bar whose customers, from the hard-drinking working class Irish to the coiffed African American gay male, continually transform its focus during its 10-year reign.

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Documentary | Short

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January 2003 (USA)  »

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Terminal Bar  »

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

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User Reviews

An interesting collection of memories and characters
12 March 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Terminal Bar was one of the toughest bars on Manhattan's 8th Street and for 10 years was owned by barman and manager Sheldon Nadelman, who took more than 2500 photos of his customers. This film looks back on the character and history of the bar through Nadelman's personal reflections and provides an interesting account of the changing culture of the city and the ultimate change in the area to be cleaner but perhaps lacking in the character of those times.

An interesting film this one more than a great one. Using the pictures taken by Nadelman down the years in combination with his memories and commentary this makes for an interesting look at New York when it was worthy of its tough and gritty reputation. This is not to suggest that New York has become a sanitised city in recent years but certainly the characters in this documentary are the tough wise-guys, "fairies", pimps and so on that one pictures when thinking of the city in the 1970's. As such it is interesting to hear these memories and see the images and watch the characters change over the decade in question.

But yet I found myself ending it with a couple of niggles about the delivery and tone of the film. Maybe I expected too much but I didn't think it did as good a job of connecting the memories with new York societal change as I would have liked – but this is perhaps a minor complaint. The bigger complaint was part of the delivery. I really enjoyed the energetic and stylish way that the film was delivered but was I the only one that struggled to hear what was being said? The music is so high compared to the narration that I found it difficult to concentrate on it – particularly when Clifford is narrating in his low, deep voice.

Not perfect then, but certainly worth a look for being an interesting collection of characters and memories.


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