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A brisk tiny film, beautifully photographed, around the 3rd Avenue Elevated railway in Fresh York. Apparently it was due for demolition so Mr Pennebaker immortalised it in this film. We see lots of stark monumental railway architecture silhouetted vs the morning skies, 1950's commuters in trilby hats and overcoats, and swirling photos as the trains plunge into central Fresh York. A nice experiment with technique, a nice soundtrack, and actually a nice piece of nostalgia.I saw this as an accompaniment to "The Horse's Mouth" on DVD. I am satisfied the filmmaker was stubborn enough not to sell the movie outright and made a handsome return of $25 a week during the run of the main feature.
This is what was told before this short was shown at a film theater in NYC I got a possibility to watch it in. I think it applies well; this is a short that is simply composed of photos of the town circa mid 1950's. It's extraordinary not necessarily for what is shown alone, though first timer D.A. Pennebaker does overload the viewer with experiments in using the camera in traveling motion. I found that aspect of the movie to stand well on its own terms from a purely visual perspective. But, like a Stan Brakhage film, you have to be very, very concentrated in your visual output and montage for this movie to stand without anything else applied. So Pennebaker does something very wise by putting the movie to one of Duke Ellington's briskest, most inspiring musical numbers. The director here knows well that, with the right music, the photos work twice as effectively; in a method this is like one of the early, rough type of melody videos. That it's done to a number by one of America's greatest composers, never-mind Jazz musicians and orchestrator's, creates a unique mood for it. It doesn't over-stay its length, and it fills up the swooping and careening subway and vehicle shots with nice tact. Like the one-line says, if you wish a fast fix, here's one for those wondering what happened to MTV lately.
It is a movie at only 5 mins in length, yes, but it is still a nice piece of cinema, regardless!Documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker has made 2 of my all time favourite films, "Don't Look Back" and "Monterey Pop", which are both melody documentaries. "Daybreak Express" can, arguably, be considered a melody documentary, considering almost the whole movie contains a soundtrack by Duke Ellington, which flows perfectly with the pretty imagery of the sights and sounds of town life.It is an nice short film, which includes variety of perfect imagery! I'd suggest it to most people, which is a kind of suggestion that I've never really given to most experimental film. But, this short is fun and amusing enough to entertain most people, especially those with some minor-major interest in cinema.
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