American Experience: Season 23, Episode 8

Triangle Fire (28 Feb. 2011)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Documentary, History
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 73 users  
Reviews: 3 user

From PBS and American Experience - The Triangle Fire chronicles the fire that tore through the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City killing one hundred and forty-eight young women ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Murphy ...
Narrator (voice)
Annelise Orleck ...
Herself, historian
Richard A. Greenwald ...
Himself, historian
David Von Drehle ...
Himself, author
Jo Ann E. Argersinger ...
Herself, historian
Steven Fraser ...
Himself, historian (as Steve Fraser)
Himself, author
Thomas Bender ...
Himself, historian
Robyn Muncy ...
Herself, historian
Reenactment actress (voice)
Reenactment actress (voice)
Michael Daly ...
Reenactment actor (voice)
Various / Seamstress / Child (voice)
Reenactment actor (voice)
Reenactment actress (voice)


From PBS and American Experience - The Triangle Fire chronicles the fire that tore through the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City killing one hundred and forty-eight young women and forever changed the relationship between labor and industry in the United States. Written by Anonymous

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28 February 2011 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

Yet another exceptional PBS documentary.
1 October 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is the second documentary I've seen about the tragic fire at the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory in 1911. The first was shown on the History Channel and was a bit different from this PBS film. Unlike the PBS one, it was entirely about the fire and the factors that led to the massive loss of life. This PBS film, in contrast, was much more a film about the need to unionize, as the first half of the show was about failed efforts to unionize this factory and others in New York. Then, in an illustration of the need, the fire is discussed--which occurred a year later. Neither way of telling the story was better--they were just different.

Like so many PBS documentary is similar to others the network airs in that it consists of a narrator, actors acting out the events and narrating as well as the extensive use of vintage photos--as the cameras scanned about the pictures (a common technique used by Ken Burns--though he did not direct this film).

The film is very effective and when reports of eyewitnesses are being reenacted, you can't help but feel horrible for the poor ladies who burned to death, died from smoke inhalation or had chosen to jump to their deaths instead. It's hard to just watch it and not be affected by the tragedy. Well made, but a bit grisly (as they show some pretty nasty pictures of the victims)--it's a great example of filmmaking--which, amazingly, is par for the course for "The American Experience".

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