PICTURING A METROPOLIS I: EARLY VIEWS (NEW YORK CITY UNVEILED 1899-1905)

by AMERICAN MUTOSCOPE & BIOGRAPH CO. & EDISON MANUFACTURING CO.
1899-1905 / 35mm / b&w / sound / 1S / 9' 16

- The Blizzard 1899, 1:55 minutes
- Lower Broadway 1902, 1:13 minutes
- Beginning of a Skyscraper 1902, 49 seconds
- Panorama from the Times Building 1905, 2:06 minutes
- Skyscrapers of New York from the North River 1903, 1:58 minutes
- Panorama from Tower of Brooklyn Bridge 1903, 50 seconds

“Many acknowledge “Manhatta” (1920) to be the first American avant-garde film. Perhaps, the film should be regarded as a coda to a grand era of New York City films photographed by Edison and American Mutoscope and Biograph cameramen. Variations upon these early views of Manhattan reverberate in later experimental productions.” —Bruce Posner

“The Blizzard” 1899, 1:55 minutes
by Creators Unknown for American Mutoscope and Biograph Co.

“A circular panorama, weather report, and comic interlude all in one film. The first two are obvious; for the interlude, watch the man with the hat and shovel follow the camera pan. Perhaps taken from the stoop of the American Mutoscope offices across from Union Square.” —Bruce Posner

“Lower Broadway” 1902 1902, 1:13 minutes
by Robert K. Bonine for American Mutoscope and Biograph Co.

“The grand canyons of Manhattan open up before the camera. Much like today, the rush of people and traffic continues to fascinate. Bonine’s composition is sheer poetry.” —Bruce Posner

“Beginning of a Skyscraper” 1902, 49 seconds
by Robert K. Bonine for American Mutoscope and Biograph Co.

“An overhead camera shot shows a work site, where a large crew of laborers are digging the excavation for the new Macy’s building at Thirty-fifth Street and Broadway.” —Paul Spehr

“Panorama from the Times Building” 1905, 2:06 minutes
by Wallace McCutcheon for American Mutoscope and Biograph Co.

“The opening shot panning upward toward the parapet of the newly built Times Building creates an impression of height by showing glimpses of the buildings below. The second shot, a pan from Bryant Square around to Seventh Avenue and Broadway, shows the emerging theater district.” —Paul Spehr

“Skyscrapers of New York from the North River” 1903, excerpt 1:58 minutes
by J. B. Smith for Edison Manufacturing Co.

“The lower end of Manhattan, from Barclay Street to Battery Park, filmed from the deck of a boat. The piers of Pennsylvania Railroad Co., Lehigh Valley Railroad, and United Fruit Company are prominent in the foreground.” —Paul Spehr

“Panorama from Tower of Brooklyn Bridge” 1903, 50 seconds
by G.W. “Billy” Bitzer for American Mutoscope and Biograph Co.

“Originally photographed in 65mm from atop the Brooklyn Bridge, the shot sweeps the entire length of Manhattan. Many films will be made of the Brooklyn Bridge, a marvel of engineering and sheer architectural beauty: views of it, from it, across it, above it, and even passing under it.” —Bruce Posner

Courtesy:
Paper Print Collection, Library of Congress
Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1893-1941

1 PRINT IN DISTRIBUTION


distribution format Digital file on server
screen 4/3 (single screen)
speed 29,976 fps
sound sound
rental fee 35,00 €