5.8/10
105
5 user 5 critic

New York in the 50's (2000)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 9 February 2001 (USA)
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Based on the book by Dan Wakefield, the film combines stunning archival footage of New York with interviews of the icons of the day - Kerouac, Ginsberg, Baldwin, Mailer, Basie, etc. Offering modern day perspectives.

Director:

Betsy Blankenbaker

Writer:

Dan Wakefield (book)
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Cast

Credited cast:
David Amram David Amram ... Himself
Sam Astrachan Sam Astrachan ... Himself
James Baldwin ... Himself (archive footage)
Brock Bower Brock Bower ... Himself
Ann Brower Ann Brower ... Herself
William F. Buckley ... Himself
Knox Burger Knox Burger ... Himself
Art D'Lugoff Art D'Lugoff ... Himself
Mary Ann DeWees McCoy Mary Ann DeWees McCoy ... Herself
Joan Didion ... Herself
John Gregory Dunne John Gregory Dunne ... Himself
Edwin Fancher Edwin Fancher ... Himself (as Ed Fancher)
Bruce Jay Friedman Bruce Jay Friedman ... Himself
Jane Wylie Genth Jane Wylie Genth ... Herself
Allen Ginsberg ... Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

Based on the book by Dan Wakefield, the film combines stunning archival footage of New York with interviews of the icons of the day - Kerouac, Ginsberg, Baldwin, Mailer, Basie, etc. Offering modern day perspectives.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on book | See All (1) »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 February 2001 (USA) See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,552, 11 February 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,552, 11 February 2001
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Figaro Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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User Reviews

 
Is it just me or did most of the people in this documentary seem awfully smug and self-involved?
7 September 2008 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

As one reviewer pointed out, this film is less a documentary about New York City and more a film about Greenwich Village and a small group of Bohemians. New Yorkers, in general, were NOT like the folks portrayed in the film. This isn't a major complaint--just a clarification.

If you watch this film, your reaction will probably have a lot to do with your values and beliefs. While so many folks looked back wistfully about the 50s in New York, to me I felt that most of the folks seemed like the most self-involved and smug individuals I have ever heard. Some, certainly not all, seemed to care mostly about feeling good through sex, smoking, psychoanalysis (which, in some ways is VERY egocentric) and drugs and you can easily see how the radical 60s truly had its roots in this New York movement. To me, these attitudes just seemed very sad and selfish.

In amazing contrast, the idealism, social consciousness and egalitarian aspects of this time I found admirable. Despite some of the incredibly "ME-oriented" people who talked in the film, a lot of good came from it as well. Its roots to the 60s civil rights movement were interesting and helped the viewer to see that racial equality didn't just "appear" in the 60s.

Overall, this is a mixed bag. The film is constructed well and has no narration--simply allowing those of the time to speak for themselves. This is the sign of an excellent and intelligent documentary. However, it's lack of balance and "wide-eyed" view of all the good of this time is disturbing--at least to this more conservative viewer. I wasn't enamored with many of these themes and felt there was a lot of negative though it all seemed to be portrayed too optimistically. To me, the good AND bad should have been explored--such as the early deaths due to substance abuse. Because of this, the film should play well to more liberal audiences and make "middle America", Muslims, and many others feel uncomfortable.


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