And This is Free

And This is Free

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For nearly a century, sociologists termed Chicago's famed Maxwell Street "The Ellis Island of the Midwest," given its heterogeneous blend of races, religions, and social types running the gamut from businessmen to hustlers. The locale, of course, is perhaps best known for its rollicking blues and stirring gospel music. The 1964 documentary And This is FreeSee more details below

Overview

For nearly a century, sociologists termed Chicago's famed Maxwell Street "The Ellis Island of the Midwest," given its heterogeneous blend of races, religions, and social types running the gamut from businessmen to hustlers. The locale, of course, is perhaps best known for its rollicking blues and stirring gospel music. The 1964 documentary And This is Free travels to the Maxwell Street of the early '60s for a direct cinema plunge into the fray of on-street activity, with a particularly strong emphasis on the musical element.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
A remarkable documentary that preserves a time and place now gone, And This Is Free captures the sights and sounds of an urban environment that helped lend Chicago much of its legendary character. Director Mike Shea spent 16 weekends combing the Maxwell Street shopping district, where disparate ethnic groups came together to form a homogenous neighborhood market. Released in 1964, the beautifully photographed and imaginatively edited film retrieves an era before standardization of urban commerce -- read: shopping centers and malls -- became the norm. Rows upon rows of street vendors selling every imaginable product stood cheek-by-jowl with street musicians singing the blues, religious groups preaching and vocalizing, and hucksters trying to get over on the crowd, all bordered by legitimate shops, department stores, and restaurants. African Americans, Jews, Puerto Ricans, Gypsies, slumming suburbanites, college kids soaking up atmosphere, and down-at-the-heels families all mingle in harmony, the lure of the bargain and cheap entertainment drawing them together. Shea’s narrator-free direction makes use of artful montages of interlocking images and sounds that emphasizes the area’s melting-pot unity. The 50-minute And This Is Free, is joined by two short documentaries: one on the Jewish legacy of Maxwell Street, the other, a portrait of the area making use of valuable found footage. Additional treats arrive by way of a music CD stocked with atypical Chicago blues performances, and a 36-page booklet that brings the neighborhood to life through photos and firsthand accounts of its vivid history.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/10/2008
UPC:
0016351680198
Original Release:
1964
Source:
Shanachie
Region Code:
0
Time:
1:40:00
Sales rank:
51,313

Cast & Crew

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- And This is Free: The Life and Times of Chicago's Legendary Maxwell St
1. Opening / Arvella Gray [3:53]
2. If You've Got a Corn On Your Foot... [2:17]
3. Hey Sol, Ya Got Size 50? [2:13]
4. Johnny Young [4:53]
5. Wise Man Incense Huckster [2:53]
6. World's Smallest Saxophones [2:27]
7. Carrie Robinson "Power To Live Right" [5:32]
8. Fannie Brewer "I Shall Overcome" [2:47]
9. Back Yard Boogie [5:12]
10. Robert Nighthawk "Cheating & Lying Blues" [3:22]
11. Chicken Man [5:24]
12. Jim Brewer Group "I'll Fly Away" [6:47]
13. Opening [6:03]
14. World's Largest Sporting Goods Store [2:55]
15. Lyon's Delicatessen [6:15]
16. Anything and Everything For Sale [5:01]
17. Bargaining Made Maxwell Street Vibrant [3:21]
18. Some of This Should Be Saved [5:18]
19. Photo Show On Historic Maxwell Street [10:54]
20. Casey Jones, the Chicken Man [1:58]
21. Maxwell Street, 1940s [:50]
22. Daddy Stovepipe & Arvella Gray [:35]
23. Come Shop the Maxwell Street Market [1:01]
24. Gordon Quinn Interview [5:34]

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