On the Bowery (1956) torrent download

On the Bowery

1956

Documentary / Drama

7.4

Synopsis

At the time of this film, the Bowery was a neighborhood in New York City populated largely by the down and out, and largely by transients. Those that can work generally can only find short term employment on a day to day basis, their daily earnings which primarily go into booze. Those that can't or won't work generally sponge off whoever they can, especially for that next drink. New to the neighborhood is Ray, who most recently had been working the rails in New Jersey. He is one of those who can and still does work, but like the others spends what little money he has on booze, which means he usually sleeps on the streets in a drunken stupor. The only person he would probably consider a friend in the neighborhood is the elderly Gorman, who in turn takes advantage of his new friend at whatever opportunity. When he's sober, Ray understands that alcohol is ruining his life, and as such states that he will try to stop drinking. The questions become whether Ray has either the will or the support necessary to fulfill this goal, or whether he is destined to become another Gorman and the legions like Gorman in the Bowery. —Huggo

Director

Lionel Rogosin

Cast

Ray Salyer
as Himself

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Michael_Elliott N/A

A Different Type of Doc

On the Bowery (1956)

*** (out of 4)

Lionel Rogosin's first film is part documentary and part scripted story as we visit the Bowery, which at the time was one of the worst sections of New York. The film centers on a man who enters a bar and becomes mixed up with various drunks. The "documentary' aspect of the film gives us a little trip around the Bowery where we get to see various portions of the people who live there. ON THE BOWERY was nominated for an Academy Award and even over fifty-years later you can't help but be blown away by some of the images. I must admit that the scripted stuff was probably my least favorite but at the same time it was fascinating seeing these men in their daily lives. If you caught this movie on Turner Classic Movies there was some interesting details told by the host about the fate of some of the men involved. It's clear that none of them wanted help or an acting career so what we get here really does seem real and authentic. The shots of the Bowery were certainly very interesting to see today simply because you get to see what the place used to look like. There were some shorts made about the Bowery and of course everyone knows The Bowery Boys but this here is just so much more. The best stuff is actually the editing of the picture, which is quite remarkable and among the best I've ever seen. The flawless way the film and characters just flow from one scene to the next is pretty amazing to watch. It certainly doesn't hurt that the cinematography is top-notch from start to finish and it really captures the mood of these men and the Bowery.

Reviewed by boblipton 8 /10

The Road Less Traveled

As I read the admiring comments about this movie, I find myself confused. Yes, this is an excellent documentary -- and the question of whether some scenes may have been staged bothers me less than it does another commenter. Yet, good as it is, this sort of documentary did not spring newborn from the mind of Lionel Rogosian, like Athena from Zeus' brow. There are clear antecedents, like the photography of Walker Evans and even movies like Boris Kaufman's LES HALLES CENTRALES (1927).

In many ways it is a remake of the 1941 Passing Parade short THIS IS THE BOWERY, without the voice over commentary. Instead, it reserves its commentary to its cinematic choices: the editing that cuts faster and faster as arguments rage and the uncredited photographer, who carefully composed and key lit portrait shots that scream "This is a human being", Film is a medium that can lie or tell the truth twenty-four times a second, but which lies or truths the film maker chooses to tell.... that's the real point.

Having thus demonstrated my learnedness and balance as a film critic, let me turn again and note that such issues are irrelevant. A movie is made for an audience, and how would this movie strike its audience, who probably could not recall having ever seen anything like it before? Like a thunderbolt. This sort of cinema vérité film making was something usually seen in post-war Italian movies where the producer couldn't afford a studio. To see it applied to reality in the United States was devastating and changed documentary film-making permanently. At least, until the next new and greatest thing came along.

Reviewed by dougdoepke N/A

It Ain't Hollywood and Vine

A 60-minute semi-documentary (some scripting) of life on New York's notorious Bowery.

Thanks TCM for reviving this slice of exotica for a general audience, and thanks fred3f for the edifying comments. Even now, so many years later, the film is still compelling. The faces, oh my, the faces! They're a road map of life in the raw, so unlike the cosmetics of Hollywood and Vine. So just grab a slab of sidewalk and sleep it off. Or spend the night blustering across a table with other drunks. But whatever you do, always guard your back.

For a Midwestern geezer like me used to the Hollywood product of the 50's, a film like this comes from another planet. To think there was a guy (Rogosin) working hard in the upscale 50's on a look at the subterranean America everyone else ignored is astonishing. What he's left us with is a record of permanent insight. Nevertheless, I'm skipping that next glass of wine, and from now on, I'll be making my bed with loving care.

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