New York: The Center of the World

New York: The Center of the World

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Director: Ric Burns

Cast: Ric Burns

     
 

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The three-hour documentary Center of the World is part of producer/director Ric Burns' massive 14 1/2-hour filmed history of New York City. More specifically, this film is an outgrowth of the five-minute coda to Burns' previous effort The City and the World: 1945 to Present, hastily added to acknowledge the horrendous terrorist attack of September 11,See more details below

Overview

The three-hour documentary Center of the World is part of producer/director Ric Burns' massive 14 1/2-hour filmed history of New York City. More specifically, this film is an outgrowth of the five-minute coda to Burns' previous effort The City and the World: 1945 to Present, hastily added to acknowledge the horrendous terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Center of the World focuses on the World Trade Center, from its embryonic inception in 1946 through the finalized design submitted by architect Minoru Yamasaki in 1962, and on to the construction of what would become Manhattan's tallest, most awe-inspiring and most controversial skyscraper structure. (For every commentator who admired the WTC, there was one who dismissed it as mere "aluminum siding.") The last 45 minutes of the film concentrates on the destruction of the Twin Towers and the aftermath of the tragedy, with a subliminal subtext suggesting that the attack may have been inadvertently brought about by the "economic imperialism" of the United States (though this theory is heartily rejected by several of the notables interviewed for the film). Among those offering commentary on New York City in general and the WTC in particular are journalists Mike Wallace, Pete Hammil, and Jimmy Bresliln; former mayor Mario Cuomo; history professor and frequent Burns collaborator Niall Ferguson; and Kenneth Jackson, president of the New York Historical Society. Center of the World made its American TV debut as an episode of the PBS anthology American Experience.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
The eighth -- and, one presumes, final -- chapter in Ric Burns’s epic documentary New York may be the most extraordinary contemporary coda since the one Jimi Hendrix tacked on to "Axis, Bold as Love." Turning the story of the World Trade Center into a three-hour examination of 20th-century globalization, and employing the Twin Towers’ tragic fall as a metaphor for globalization’s apparent evils, Center of the World stakes out a contentious position on ground many regard as too hallowed, so soon after the tragedy, to serve as a vehicle for political debate. Even more so than in the previous episodes, though, Burns makes his point with relentless power and confidence, employing a series of historians and experts; images both fascinating and distressing (including those of people jumping from the burning towers); and a narration track from David Ogden Stiers that is grave in the extreme. However one feels about Burns’s spin, the story of the WTC remains a fascinating one, and it has never been more passionately or completely told than in this extraordinary film.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/09/2003
UPC:
0794054887020
Original Release:
2003
Rating:
NR
Source:
Pbs Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Sound:
[Dolby Surround]
Time:
3:00:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Interview with Ric Burns on the making of The Center of the World; Film outtakes featuring Philippe Petit, Ed Koch, Mario Cuomo and others

Cast & Crew

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Prologue: The Center of the World [4:16]
2. Introduction: The Twin Towers [10:20]
3. New World Order [3:38]
4. Saving Lower Manhattan [8:03]
5. The Port Authority Takes Charge [9:17]
6. The New Jersey Problem [3:47]
7. The Tallest Buildings in the World [14:09]
8. "Here Lies Mr. Small Businessman" [12:53]
9. Into the Air [15:43]
10. Topping Out and Bottoming Out [14:48]
1. Among the Clouds [16:07]
2. The Center of the World [11:37]
3. 9/11 [33:29]
4. Epilogue [15:53]

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