DAYBREAK EXPRESS

by D.A. PENNEBAKER
1953 / 16mm / color / sound / 1S / 5' 00

I wanted to make a film about this filthy, noisy train and it’s packed-in passengers that would look beautiful, like the New York City paintings of John Sloan, and I wanted it to go with one of my Duke Ellington records, Daybreak Express.
I didn’t know much about film editing, or in fact about shooting, so I bought a couple of rolls of Kodachrome at the drugstore, and figured that since the record was about three minutes long, by shooting carefully I could fit the whole thing onto one roll of film. Of course that didn’t work since I couldn’t start and stop my hand-wound camera that easily so I ended up shooting both rolls and even a few more before I was through. It took about three days to film, and then sat in a closet for several years until I figured out how to edit it and make a print that I could show on a projector.
I took it to the Paris theater to see if they would run it. By pure chance it ended up with the Alec Guiness comedy, THE HORSE’S MOUTH which ran there for nearly a year. Since I had a large collection of jazz records, I figured I’d found a way to break into the film business with music films, and it did get me started, but I was never able to make another film like Daybreak.

1 PRINT IN DISTRIBUTION


distribution format 16mm
screen 1,37 - Standard (single screen)
speed 24 fps
sound optical sound
rental fee 51,00 €