"In 1921, Sheeler and Strand collaborated to make Manhatta, considered to be the first American avant-garde film. Inspired by Walt Whitman's poem "Mannahatta," which is quoted in one of the intertitles, the film portrays life in New York City in sixty-five nonnarrative shots. The sequences display one epic day in Lower Manhattan, beginning with a ferry approaching the city in early morning and ending with a sunset view from a skyscraper. Shot from extreme camera angles, the film captures the dynamic qualities of the new metropolis" Museum of Modern Art (New York), Department of Film.
Also known as Footnote to Fact [As I Walk].
"She Goes to Vassar is a one-reel film that provides an overview of college life from the perspective of a new freshman student. From her arrival on campus, to settling into her new dorm and meeting her professors and classmates, the film depicts many facets of the college experience. Perhaps most striking about the film from today’s perspective are the shots of the academic environment, as the young women attend lectures and labs instructed by their professors, many of whom are also women. Though it was ultimately used primarily as a fundraising tool by the college’s alumni association, the film nevertheless provides a valuable glimpse of this women’s college through the eyes of a recent graduate." Women Film Pioneers Project
An avant-garde city symphony film set in the Bronx, New York.
"R.W. Smiley who produced New York World's Fair is at the head of the Publicity Department of the Royal-Liverpool Group of Insurance Companies, and made this film to show the visiting agents of those companies what the Fair was like, so that they might have an idea of what they could see, before ever they visited the Fair" ("Program Notes," 1940).
“The hard-edged graphics of 'Skyscraper Symphony' stand in contrast to other New York 'scenics' produced during the 1920s. Composed of skewed perspectives, Robert Florey’s camera looks straight up the domineering concrete behemoths. And it is hard to determine if the film mimics symphonic form as the title suggests or whether it advances a new methodology in musical-visual shot progression that reflects the alien structures depicted.” —Bruce Posner via Light Cone
"Flaherty's New York film is a negotiation of modern urban culture (the city) by a filmmaker whose interests had primarily been of the exotic, the folk, the ancient cultures" (Tepperman 32).
"A clever, artfully-shot, and carefully-edited amateur film of the 1939 New York World's Fair." oldfilm.org
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