Dawson City: Frozen Time

Dawson City is about the history of the town, and how the last remaining copies of hundreds of film reels wound up being preserved. It sounds cool, but the way they presented it is actually pretty boring.

Dawson City is a documentary about old film reels. In the early 1900s, silent movies were recorded on explosive film. And this town in Canada was the end of the distribution line, so most of the reels stayed there and never went anywhere else. In the '70s, they wound up having about 300 reels that were the only surviving copies of those movies. So that's pretty cool.

The movie lays out the history of the town, ever since it was started, and the gold rush, all the way up to the '70s. There's also some footage of the films they found, and newsreel footage. The weird thing is there's no narration. Maybe they did that in homage to the fact that all of the movies they found were silent movies. There was some music in the documentary, but it was really terrible, and I was dying to hear someone say something.

I didn't like having to read all the information, and it was super boring. The most interesting part of the whole thing was after it was over and one of the special features talked about the people who found and restored the films, and showed where they're stored now.

They had to have the military transport them through part of Canada, because no one else would touch them. And when they brought the American ones to the United States, they took them to a building that had just burned down because of all the film that was in it. I was surprised they took them there. They obviously didn't have very good storage practices.

The actual old film footage turned out to not be very interesting. It was kind of cool learning things about the town, like the fact that the business district burnt down every year for the first nine years after they built it.

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