Director: Ralph Steiner
1939, 43, Digital, NR
Cast: Morris Carnovsky, narrator
Made for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, The City is a seminal documentary film distinguished for the organic integration of narration, cinematography (Ralph Steiner and Willard Van Dyke), and music (Aaron Copland). The score, arguably Copland’s highest achievement in film, was also his ticket to Hollywood; it has been called “an astonishing missing link not only in the genesis of Copland’s Americana style but in American music and cinema.” (Mark Swed, The Los Angeles Times).
“Commissioned by the American Institute of Planners to be shown in daily rotation at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair (“The World of Tomorrow”), The City is called a documentary. But it’s more of a cinemagraphic–and musical–meditation on the de-humanizing evils of modern urban life and, in the second half filmed at the model community of Greenbelt, Maryland, on the remedy for those evils.” – American Record Guide, Lawrence Hansen, May/June 2000