Manhatta (1921)

2007 #109a
Paul Strand & Charles Sheeler | 10 mins | download

Another ’20s city film, showing off (as you might guess from the title) parts of New York. The focus appears to be industrial — skyscrapers under construction, finished architecture, tug boats, trains near the docks; the people of the city only crop up at the start and close, and then only in faceless crowds. It’s interspersed with poetic intertitles, which make for an odd contrast.

Once again, I feel that, unless you want to go getting a bit pretentious (and, to be fair, at least some of these films were made for just that), the main interest here is in an historical perspective: it provides another snapshot of a time and place long gone.

2 out of 5

The full short is available on Wikipedia.

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