NEWS: The Crowd @ Star and Shadow, Newcastle | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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King Vidor’s 1928 silent film The Crowd opens with one of the most iconic opening sequences in cinema history. Coming one year after Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and anticipating later films such as Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 Modern Times – and with clear parallels to the famous opening scenes of Manhattan, Woody Allen’s 1979 love letter to New York – Vidor’s film attempts to convey the anonymity of the ordinary working man striving to achieve the American Dream amongst the eponymous crowd of the Big Apple, a theme which continually recurs in film and literature of the early 20th century.

We are treated to a spectacular montage of shots of the hustle and bustle of cars, boats, buildings and people of 1920s New York before the camera focusses on John Sims (James Murray) working at one desk amongst hundreds, sitting at just one office window amongst thousands in the great metropolis. Miniature sets were used to achieve shots which were, at the time, impossible. Moving and visually stunning, King Vidor boldly tells the story of the ordinary at a time when cinema was obsessed with the extraordinary: The Crowd is a must see, both for fans of silent cinema and lovers of 20th century American literature such as Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman alike.

The Crowd screens at the Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle on Sunday 22nd March.

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