Scen.: Richard Bagley, Mark Sufrin, Lionel Rogosin; F.: Richard Bagley; Mo.: Carl Lerner; Mu.: Charles Mills; Int.: Ray Salyer, Gorman Hendricks, Frank Matthews; Prod.: Lionel Rogosin Productions 35mm. L.: 1818 m. D.: 66’. Bn.
But the great surprise, the revelation of the Seventh Festival of Documentary and Short Films [Venice] has been On the Bowery (USA), a realist narrative film directed by Lionel Rogosin, a young director of notable talents. Here, the camerawork, in the hands of Richard Bagley (the director of The Vigil), does not yield to the temptations of stylization. Rogosin uses it to observe without self-conscious artistry, implacably, without fear of human ugliness, this neighborhood of New York hovels, the cobbles scattered with old papers and rotting refuse, on which vegetate alcoholics without hope, relics of humanity. For this, his first film, Rogosin lived with them for six months, and made these creatures simply act out the misery, the squalid life of every day. He has succeeded in capturing, without scripted dialogue, what they themselves openly express. Thus the film speaks with their language, and without any artifice. The story is restricted to a small fact: chance brings a man to the Bowery. He drinks, loses his money and suitcase, and begins to drift. He is given money to escape from this inferno, but remains, to sink always deeper. It is a courageous film, with fine photography, confident direction, and good editing.
Lotte H. Eisner, “Un uomo sulla Bowery,” Cinema Nuovo, n. 89, 10 September 1956