Chicgao World's Fair 1893
Expo -- Magic of the White City
Review by Ross Anthony

Never having attended one, but always curious about world’s fairs, I looked forward to viewing this documentary of the World’s Fair in Chicago, 1893. Having grown up in that grand city many many years later, I nonetheless, was all the more eager to see how the fair grounds figured into my hometown.

Gene Wilder narrates with enthusiasm. There are a great many facts to share and he accomplishes the daunting job. In the visual, a collage of images string together from beginning to end. Some of them are actual B&W photos, some are watercolors of the fair grounds and structures within. It’s not really clarified from what time period any of these still images were created. If the watercolors were original architectural plans -- I’d be curious to know. As for the fewer video images -- they were more obviously shot recently. And although they are of very high resolution, most of these recreations are a bit scant and silly.

Still, the vastness of the event is well represented here. The documentary even stirs a sampling of the excitement such an exposition must have caused. It’s fascinating. The spirit of invention, ambition, collaboration, and the bold-face gustiness of one city to design and build such a massive undertaking in just a few years -- simply fascinating. All told, this “small city” used three times the amount of electricity than did the rest of Chicago.

There’s so much information and it’s delivered homogonously throughout -- if viewed all at once, could be a bit wearisome toward the end. Get the DVD, then watch it in halves.

-- Book Contest --

  • Expo -- Magic of the White City. Copyright © 2007.
  • Narrated by Gene Wilder.
  • Directed by Mark Bussler.
  • Produced by Mark and Mike Bussler at Inecom.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)

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Last Modified: Thursday, 24-May-2007 13:02:12 PDT