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Monday, April 16 at 7:30

Rare screening of documentary on 1939/1940 New York World’s Fair

(1984) “The past is black and white, the future is color,” as is this view of the New York World’s Fair of 1939 and ’40. A former Queens garbage dump transformed into the 20th century’s most streamlined exposition (on the same site as the ’64-‘65 fair, now Flushing Meadow Park), with a modernistic trademark (not a pyramid and globe, but a “Trylon” and a “Perisphere,” as narrator Jason Robards Jr. is careful to point out), and acres of pavilions showcasing the worlds’ nations (including the Soviet Union) and U.S. corporations, the ’39 fair offered glimpses of things to come, with attractions like General Motors’ “Futurama,” with its vision of new cities and magical highways, and the painfully primitive Electro the Robot. Culled from black-and-white newsreels and industrial films, but mostly from vibrant Kodachrome (Kodak’s home version of Technicolor) home movies of astonishing quality. DCP. 83 Min.

Click here to see color photographs of 1939-40 New York World’s Fair in article from The Atlantic.


“A historical moment made three-dimensional.” 
– Stanley Kaufman, The New Republic

“FASCINATING. EXCELLENTLY DONE. The old footage is fascinating to see and recalls that lost world magically, as if the people in an old tinted photograph suddenly stepped out of the picture and began to movie.” 
– John Richardson, New York Tribune

“A fine, funny feature-length documentary about the New York World’s Fair of 1939, when, for a few, short, glittery months, Western civilization paused between the Depression and World War II… Using newsreel footage, home movies and some wonderfully revealing promotional movies shown within the fair, [the filmmakers] have created an exceptionally perceptive film-essay on the cockeyed optimism that since the mid-19th century has been a historical obligation for all right-thinking Americans.”
– Vincent Canby, The New York Times


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THE WORLD OF TOMORROW Q&A with co-director Tom Johnson, moderated by Bruce Goldstein, April 16, 2018

Tom Johnson, co-director with Lance Bird of THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, their 1984 documentary on the 1939/40 New York World’s Fair, interviewed by Bruce Goldstein, Film Forum Director of Repertory Programming, with audience Q&A. (THE WORLD OF TOMORROW had its New York premiere at Film Forum 34 years ago).