What we have above is one of the strangest six minutes of film you'll ever see--I promise. Apropos of yesterday's post (scroll down, Einstein) in which we viewed early Fox Movietone sound-on-film capturings of events on the streets of New York, here we have raw footage for a 1930 Fox newsreel utilizing the first 'man on the street' interviews that I think ever existed. The question posed to a slew of different New Yorkers has to do with the length of women's skirts. The new skirts are apparently lower than the old skirts. The gist of this exercise in fascinating monotony is: do you prefer the new skirts to the old, the lower to the shorter?. The answers aren't really important--although I do notice that most of the men say they prefer the skirts longer, as if to say they preferred shorter skirts might mark them as lecherous mashers.

As usual with found footage, it's the 'meta' of the whole thing that is hypnotic. Note that everyone wears some kind of headwear and that our interviewer leaves his hat on when speaking to the men, while making sure to remove it when speaking to a woman. Manners. The subjects are all terribly polite and genteel. The streets are clean, people of different classes are all well turned-out and
the novelty of being interviewed on the street--new at the time--seemed amusing and something to talk about with the boys at the club/girls at the Bridge Game. I love this stuff. Thanks to Guy Jones, the Youtube poster who has meticulously cleaned up the sound and perhaps gotten some of the junk out of the picture. Where did he find this material? It's as if the souls of those on camera (and maybe the cameramen themselves) called down to earth and said 'hey, want to see some cool shit we shot years ago? Well, there's this vault in Brooklyn...'

 Subscribe in a reader