film 3 of 6

Manhattan Melody

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 16, 2015

I like this one very much. It behaves at first like a newsreel, with the cheerfully generic music (some interesting ethnic typage in there) contributing especially to the impression. However, closer inspection reveals Manhattan Melody to be a really successful city symphony. It takes us from morning to night, with lots of exquisite images taking us all the way through the geographical, socio-political and ethnic (even a bit ethnographic) gradations and variations. What’s especially great is how concise it is: you get all of that Vertovian elation, and its over in ten minutes. We think of it as an avant garde notion, but look how well it works in a commercial setting. So very beautifully photographed—no to narrative!