Coney Island USA (film #43 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Hollywood]

This 50s film about Coney Island is also full of historical footage of the amusement park in its heyday, but presented with an arty and disturbing spin. The dark, atonal background music, reminiscent of modern jazz, particularly gives this feel, as well as the focus on the leering faces of various advertising dummies and automatons found throughout the park. And occasionally the camerawork gets all weird and psychedelic. I think this was all supposed to make a Serious Statement about amusement park culture, but I'm not sure what that statement is. Still, like the much more innocent and fun Coney Island, this movie also has lots of great historical footage of the grandest of the grand old amusement parks during the pre-theme-park era. The two films together encompass both the fun and the sleaze of the classic amusement park experience.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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