Places + Locations | 1930 | Sound | B/W
A film that considers life in U.S.A., North America. It contrasts an idyllic look at the rural past with that of the industrial, chaotic present. In so doing it moves on to the future in which it is possible to construct new, clean cities of America.
Water wheel on Sias Farm. Naked boys swimming in a still stream. Horse drawn carriage, apples, and boy in carriage, life is moving slowly. Carriage pulls up outside barn and wheels are unloaded: a farrier's. A town meeting, a seated crowd in a hall being addressed by speaker. Old woman embroidering, woman working on loom, basket maker. Millstone grinding corn into flour. Three men working with scythes in field. Voice over talks of natural harmony. Gravestones, North American church in the mid west. The primitive methods of the farrier are contrasted with a modern steel works.
Factory chimneys pouring out smoke. The industrial U.S.A. as represented by the steel town of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh's industrial slums, children crossing railway line. Man with false leg collecting coal in a bucket and hobbling back to his shack. Shots of dirty children in U.S.A. slums, very emotive. Man returning from work with lunch box and very dirty. Some men washing. Woman putting coal into stove. More smoke from chimneys and trains. Skyscrapers, voice over parodies stock exchange banter. People, in streets, coming out of the subway (New York, U.S.A., North America?), descending stairs from railway station, more shots of people in streets, people going to work. Montage of hands typing, leading to long shot of typing pool. Sign: 'Danger - Congested Area'. This is the Garment district. Ambulance pulls up, boys run across road, woman looks out of window. (Shots of New York, U.S.A.). Injured person is put onto stretcher and then into ambulance. Crowds, New York police. Children play on streets, New York. A down and out in an American city. Children diving from a quay into the Hudson River, New York. A man with stick chases them off. Medium close up of car accident. Window being broken by boy playing with bat and ball. Shots of people eating both in streets and in cafes: lunch time in the city. Toast being made. Sandwiches being made. Tea being poured. Close ups of people eating these foods. People in streets, men looking at passing women, man discarding newspaper and another picking it up. Man trying to cross road with difficulty. Traffic jams in city streets (particularly New York). Policeman directing traffic, crowds on pavements attempting to cross roads, chaos. Rush hour, policemen blowing whistles, cars, enormous crowds of people. The city after everyone has left: silent streets. Outlying roads are now full of cars. Shots of traffic jams on major roads. Broken down cars, man fixing wheel, another pushing car to side of road. Shots of cars full, of tired and frustrated people. Traffic lights. Cars braking and stopping. Wrecked cars preceded by images of posters warning against crossing roads carelessly. Hot dogs being sold to and consumed by people in cars. Family having picnic on side of very busy road. Policeman on motor bike shaking his head. Man attempting to fix a horn that is stuck on and blaring, baby crying, a cardboard cut out of policeman with moving arms, a car crashing off a cliff into bits. Man climbing girder during sky scraper construction. The Hoover Dam, North America. An aircraft taking off, a diesel train passing by. Aerial shots of forests. Voice over speaks of new cities that are able to make co-operation possible between machines, men and nature. Shots of a silver aeroplane in flight intercut with aerial shots of new towns in countryside. Electricity pylons taking power to new, white factories. Individuals going to work smiling. Factories set apart from living areas. Child skating down path. People horse riding through an idyllic North American housing estate. Children running out of a North American school, playing under bridges. Cycle paths. Boy fixing bicycle, children on slide in playground, also a roundabout and other play area facilities. Mother in American kitchen of the late 1930s. Gives boy his bag of sandwiches who steals apple from fridge. Boy cycles past people gardening. Man fishing. Boys skinny dipping and then eating sandwiches at foot of tree. Man reading newspaper outside house. Child having bath in small tin and then being weighed (all outside in 'new' city). Woman using washing machine. Women playing cards because a woman need not feel cooped up on washing day. (Gossip is said to be good for the complexion! very sexist !). Woman shopping in indoor market. A modern school, students drawing. Boy with bibs and hats on spreading jam on biscuits at school. Children painting. Again contrast to the slums of the big city, New York, U.S.A. The American population is said to have a choice between these extremes of the old and new, the dirty and the clean, chaos and order.
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