There could be no better film than this to show how old, character-filled neighborhoods in cities across the nation were wantonly destroyed during the “new is better” 1950s. The term used was “URBAN RENEWAL”. Cities across the United States are shown, in old, established residential
and business districts of great charm, and new, “urban renewal”-inflicted areas of equally great ugliness; the camera keeps cutting from some beautiful old Victorian structure to some drab, ugly 50s utilitarian structure which served as it’s inferior replacement. Some good shots of 50s cars on urban streets; an especially good one contrasts 50s automobiles with a turn of the century horse-drawn bakery wagon of Boston (“Albert Duplain – French Bakers”) in a wistful juxtaposition of eras. Rare footage of interurban streetcars / trolleys rolling through semi-rural areas; charming Victorian looking railroad station for “Ant Hill”. Freeways. Traffic. Dams.
Suburban sprawl: sign on undeveloped tract reads “Coming Soon: FOOD FAIR
Supermarket”; then, another sign for W.T. Grant dime store. New construction; suburban
corporate headquarters are shown amid greenery. New shopping centers, the concrete barely dry. Good CUs of Victorian architectural detail; then, of course, old buildings being demolished for 50s steel and glass structures. Wrecking balls destroying old structures. Excellent shots of 1950s parking garages. Hotels, motels.
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