Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brooklyn Bridge

When an elderly Long Island resident was asked by a local paper what her response was to the hoopla surrounding the moon landing, she said it was interesting, but nothing compare to the day they opened The Brooklyn Bridge. The construction of the bridge was a massive undertaking, the largest of its kind up to that point. Connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn and breaking ground in 1867 and taking 16 years to complete, the work the product of innovator John Roebling and carried out by his son Washington. Following the arduous construction, the bridge has become a symbol of progress and beauty, inspiring the many who have beheld it. "Brooklyn Bridge" is the first film from Ken Burns, and contains all of the trademarks and prowess used in his subsequent masterpieces, all of which have captured part of the American experience. Telling his story in two parts, Burns presents the conception and construction of the wonder in the first segment, and leaves the second open to commentators giving their reflections on it (these include Arthur Miller, Lewis Mumford, and David McCullough who also narrates). With his first film and already in complete command of his medium, Ken Burns tells the story of a simple yet wondrous feat of American engineering.