Tuesday, August 16, 2005

EXPO Extraordinaire

Films can take us to times and places we would otherwise never have the opportunity to see and experience. “EXPO – Magic of the White City” is that kind of enlightening journey -- and it’s also great fun.

Leave it to Mark Bussler to create a documentary that makes us feel we’ve actually attended the incredible 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. This talented filmmaker presents a “sensory explosion of sight and sound” here as he explores the world of the late 19th century through a cinematic visit to Chicago’s famous exposition. Caringly narrated by Gene Wilder, it’s a memorable visit indeed.

“EXPO” helps us understand the immensity and significance of this historic extravaganza. It was the biggest World’s Fair ever held, and many of the world’s greatest achievements in art, architecture, science, technology and culture were unveiled there. The temporary buildings boasted white marble columns like those seen in Rome, hence the name “White City.” Among the Fair’s 28 million visitors were Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Frank Lloyd Wright, and L. Frank Baum -- all four of whom gained inspiration for future projects by attending this amazing exposition.

Although countries from around the world seemed happy to send exhibitions to an Expo devoted to “peace and progress,” it wasn’t long before some of these same nations were fighting each other in a great war. Nevertheless, this 1893 World’s Fair demonstrated U.S. optimism, even during a time rife with internal labor struggles, economic panic, racism and immigration problems.

“EXPO – Magic of the White City” is scheduled for DVD release on September 13, 2005. For more information, go to


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