Original image: Patrick Hoesly
The Voice of a City
Original script: Norman Katkov / Recordist: Tony Schwartz
Originally aired: 2 March 1956
Plot synopsis: A series of snapshots of life in New York city.
Favourite line: 'Now, if you understand, realize, and appreciate a real good value, and if my physiognomy is not too conspicuous to be comprehended, I'm gonna clarify to such an extent that each and every individual standing here at the present time can very well afford it.'
Review: An interesting experiment in documentary-making, this episode presents a series of vignettes illustrating the rich diversity of life to be found in a major modern city, in this case New York. Through an assembly of short recordings obtained from travelling around New York's busy streets, it builds up a composite picture of an exciting, bustling, dynamic metropolis, with brief clips of interviews with people from various nationalities, and of all ages and from all walks of life. As such, there is much here that is fascinating. At the same time, though, I have to admit that my interest waned a little in places. The downside of the episode's 'naturalistic' and fragmentary approach is that there is no coherent overall narrative, and no clip lasts long enough to allow full engagement with any one interviewee. As such, though impressive in many ways, this is a hard episode with which to get very deeply involved, either intellectually or emotionally; and, frankly, I wouldn't feel compelled to listen to it again any time soon. (Another documentary-style episode recorded by Tony Schwartz is A Dog's Life.)
Rating: * * *