Fun City Cinema: New York City and the Movies That Made It

Abrams. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781419747816. $40. FILM
Film critic and historian Bailey spent three years researching and writing this visual history of films set and produced in New York City, and grateful readers will agree that this was time well spent. A perceptive guide and critic, Bailey anchors the book around a “representative” film of each decade from the 1920s to the 2010s—The Jazz Singer (1927), King Kong (1933), The Naked City (1948), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), MidnightCowboy (1969), Taxi Driver (1976), Wall Street (1987), Kids (1995), 25th Hour (2002), and Frances Ha (2012)—and he effectively demonstrates how these works have both documented and shaped public perception of life in the Big Apple. He interviews key personnel involved in the creation of many of the films, to set them in their historical, cultural, and political contexts. Readers will appreciate the book’s many production photographs and reproductions of movie posters. Bailey covers well-known films as well as less-recognized New York pictures that were equally important. Readers will find themselves scurrying to visit (or revisit) these films.
VERDICT A superb study of films set in and representative of the Big Apple. Anyone interested in the history of American film will find much to savor here.
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