"Most of the residents of New York City know that the world's metropolis is something more than a play place for sensation hunters. But, if one were to judge from many films of New York City, the conclusion would be inevitable that the urban settlement at the mouth of the Hudson River is chiefly devoted to night clubs and parades and is populated largely by those who frequent them. In New York Calling, made for the New York Central System, of which he is supervisor of the Motion Picture Bureau, Frederick G. Beach has presented the New York Central's eastern terminal city as a reasonable and understandable place, where sane people live and to which a man may bring or send his family for a holiday without wondering if they will survive the experience. Made for showing to families, Mr. Beach's excellent Kodachrome footage covers the best of New York City with an apparently effortless leisure, in spite of its brevity. Including many different phases of a great city, the picture has a generous amount of well made closeups. Things that will interest children are strikingly presented. If this reviewer did not already live in New York City, Mr. Beach's movie, with excellent narrative and music, would be the best possible argument for him to change his residence. It certainly will prove to be persuasive in the days when railroads can again urge us to travel for pleasure." Movie Makers, Dec. 1942, 508-509.
"A clever, artfully-shot, and carefully-edited amateur film of the 1939 New York World's Fair." oldfilm.org
"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).
"Hippies, peace-niks, students, beautiful girls, civil righters, old ladies and more, protest the war. Who dares to say that they don't influence the mainstream? Beautiful color and exciting montage capture the feeling and motion of the march on the United Nations" via the Film-Makers' Cooperative.
"Black-and-white home movie provides a tour of Rockefeller Center, including scenes of Mary Pickford and Buddy Rogers at a garden event." oldfilm.org
"Russian Easter is a reverent and impressive film of the celebration of Easter in the Russian Orthodox Church and in the homes of Russians living in this country, all presented against the background of the birth of spring. Easter in the Russian Church is more closely associated with the coming of spring than it is in some other faiths, and the antiphonal cry, "Truly Christ is risen!" finds its response in leafing trees, budding flowers and virescent hillsides. Accordingly, this is a joyful film, filled with the gladness of Easter and of spring. The rich liturgy of the Easter season in the Russian Church is presented with intelligently planned sequences that span the time from the beginning of Lent to three days after Easter. Interwoven are sequences of home life, as the household prepares for the celebration and the feast at Easter. So, the picture actually consists of three themes — Easter in the church, Easter in a private home and the coming of spring, all interrelated by a masterly handling of film planning and editing. Outstanding scenes in this picture are the shots of Church of Alexander Nevsky in the winter snow, looking like a color print of old Russia, and the shots of the dinner, after Easter services, when family and guests eat the traditional Easter dishes. This latter sequence has particular grace and charm. Mr. Serebrykoff has made a sincere and delightful film that bolsters one's faith in the future of amateur movie making, for he has produced a brilliant picture that could be made only by an amateur in the full and accurate sense of the word — a film that would have been profaned by professionalism." Movie Makers, Dec. 1942, 489.
"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
“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
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