Week Five: Man of the Century (1999)

Title: Man of the Century

Tone: The roaring twenties meets modern-day NYC

Who:

Director-Adam Abraham

Cast- Gibson Frazier, Susan Egan, Dwight Ewell

When: 1999

What: Newspaper columnist Johnny Twennies makes his way through present-day New York with all the slang, style, technology, and chivalry of a man from the 20s.

Why:

  • It’s the last weekend of January and our last gasp of the beginning of the new year. I figured it only fitting to throw in one more light comedy to help keep that bubbly new year feeling going.
  • Man of the Century is a surprisingly underrated indie-gem. Perhaps it’s because Adam Abraham didn’t go on to direct any other films, lack of exposure, or maybe just because it’s shot in black and white, whatever the reason Man of the Century received far less recognition than it deserves.
  • Man of the Century contains some great performances, Frazier’s 1920s demeanor is dead on, and is cleverly filmed, juxtaposing the look of films of the 20s and 30s with present-day New York. Furthermore Matthew Jensen’s cinematography is superb. Again, why this film hasn’t gained a cult following is beyond me.
  • Man of the Century also has a fantastic soundtrack featuring George Gershwin, The Mills Brothers, The Jubilee Orchestra, Bobby Short and so on. Furthermore, Bobby Short actually performs in the film! Below is the only trailer I could scrounge up, like most trailers it’s not so great but it’ll give you a sense of the film, I’d post a clip but I don’t own the dvd. Also, Man of the Century is available to stream on Netflix instant for the time being. Enjoy!
     

    Note: This is a pretty awful trailer, and don’t worry the crappy club-dance version of “Happy Feet” is not in the film (nor any music remotely like it) In other words, don’t judge a film by its trailer.

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~ by cinematte on January 30, 2011.

2 Responses to “Week Five: Man of the Century (1999)”

  1. I thought the movie was a delightful surprise myself as you described. I also couldn’t find Adam doing anything else which is too bad as he shows a great eye and touch with that particular period of film making. I have seen a couple efforts like this b/w approach in our film-making festival. http://theshootoutboulder.com

  2. Actually that version of “Happy Feet” is actually from 1930, the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, and is great!

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