Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|American Experience - Hoover Dam|
Actor: Peter Coyote
Director: John Heus
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
Studio: Wgbh Wholesale Release Date: 06/27/2006 Run time: 56 minutes
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The builders not the building
Robin Benson | 07/11/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It's a pity the title on this DVD didn't have a subheading: 'The Builders' to reveal that it's more a social look at the men who worked on the construction rather than a visual explanation of an extraordinary engineering feat. The fifty minutes length probably has less than twelve meaningful minutes devoted to the construction.
The first sixteen minutes explains the reasons for the dam, followed by film and photos of creating the four diversionary tunnels to carry the Colorado River either side of the dam during construction, this is followed by the building and life in Boulder City. It's not until thirty-five minutes that we get to the dam creation and I thought it was rather perfunctory. No reference to: the electric double-track railroad build on the Arizona side edge of the cliff-face to carry concrete to the lower sections; the thickness of the dam meant that pipes had to be installed throughout the structure to allow refrigerated water to reduce the heat created as the concrete set; the power plant with two three hundred ton cranes; nothing on the building of the water driven turbines.
It probably wasn't in the remit of the producers to look too closely at the construction, which is what I was hoping for. Admittedly this would require a lot of technical information be translated into layman's terms and require some computer graphics to simplify things. Instead there is film and stills about the working conditions, a six day strike, Boulder City, Las Vegas and interviews with folk who were involved with the dam.
I think there are a couple of other DVDs about the Hoover Dam but I get the impression that their film content is probably not much different to this PBS one. I doubt there are hours and hours of film about the construction anyway. Fortunately there is a book that covers the building in precise detail: The Story of the Hoover Dam, with plenty of maps, diagrams and photos. I was hoping that this American Experience would make the book come alive with film and graphics but it didn't.