New York: The Center of the World

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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 ...
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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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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
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/9/2003
  • UPC: 794054887020
  • Original Release: 2003
  • Rating:

  • Source: Pbs Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Alternate Wide Screen (1.78:1)
  • Presentation: Black & White / Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 3:00:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
David Ogden Stiers Voice Only
Technical Credits
Ric Burns Director, Executive Producer, Producer, Screenwriter
Allen Moore Cinematographer
Peter Nelson Cinematographer
Buddy Squires Cinematographer
Judy Crichton Consultant/advisor
Li-Shin Yu Editor
Donald Rosenfeld Executive Producer
Marilyn Ness Producer
James Sanders Screenwriter
Brian Keane Songwriter
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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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Menu

Side #1 --
   American Experience
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Interview With Ric Burns
      Outtakes: Intimations of Mortality: Empire State Building Crash
      Selected Interviews
         Ed Koch: What Makes a New Yorker
         Mario Cuomo: Towers of Light
         Ada Louise Huxtable: Rebuilding
         Philippe Petit: "Ready to Walk Again"
         William Langewiesche: One Survivor's Story
   PBS Online
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Final Chapter

    This disc, the final chapter to the New York series, is fascinating. Ric Burns, does a beatiful job of weaving interviews with classic footage to tell a beautiful and tragic story. If you have the 7 disc series, you must complete it with this final chapter

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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