Valley Town 30s steelworkers/Pennsylvania

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28 minutes

Pretty much your standard ‘The factory is closing, look at all the displaced people!” film here, but there’s some nice flourishes here and there. All the people in the film are not supposedly actors, and some of them are really good. Especially the woman playing the wife, who sings her lines mostly (!!), and some footage, which I’m positive I’ve seen before of a smokestack coming down. And again, we’ve got multiple angles of it. So hmm, where did this come from? I’m almost positive it came from a business film of some sort. It would have been interesting to find out whether the management people took the footage from the anti-company film, or vice versa…

This 1930s documentary about the impact of the Depression on steelworkers in a Pennsylvania town stands in stark contrast to the optimistic corporate films in this archive and the Our Secret Century discs, and yet it shares certain traits with them as well. This film shows us the downside of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution. A steel town thrives from all the new industries providing jobs for its citizens and lots of nifty machine-made goods to buy. But then the Depression hits and factories close down. Two thirds of the workforce is thrown out of work. And when some of the factories open up again, it’s with new, high-speed automated equipment, which requires much fewer worke

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