On the Bowery - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

On the Bowery Reviews

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September 25, 2013
Seedy, interesting look at the lives of a group of lower class men who really have nothing going for them in New York City. Most of them drink profusely, smoke to no end, sleep on the street, are angry, and make everyone, including law enforcement, pity their behaviour. Very grubby movie, but without question, exemplifies its point. The documentary is pretty sad and it does get a little overboard after a while and goes somewhat astray in direction, but I found it worked and that is all that matters.
rubystevens
Super Reviewer
March 15, 2013
it's a tough film to watch but an important one too. rogosin was one of the first independent filmmakers in america. his first film shows a bygone skid row section of new york and the men who sleep in missions and on the streets, slaves to demon rum
May 23, 2011
Incredibly vivid and authentic portrait of inner-city poverty. But I feel like I wasted my time--I could have just gone to east hastings and took a walk.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
September 20, 2010
The docufiction "On the Bowery" is best viewed as a look back at a time and place that no longer exists when derelicts would congregate on The Bowery underneath the Third Avenue Elevated tracks in Manhattan. Ray(Ray Salyer) has just returned from far flung New Jersey where he was working on the railroads. Once back in town, he goes drinking with Gorman(Gorman Hendricks). Together, they sell a pair of Ray's pants to get a room for the night but Ray does not make it that far, passing out on the street where he is not alone. Seeing an opportunity, Gorman steals his suitcase which contains Ray's prized fob watch.

One way that "On the Bowery" goes wrong is in its unconvincingly staged action(Ray never mentions his lost suitcase again) in a moderately successful attempt to mimic Italian neorealism, according to the making of documentary that followed(I didn't stay for the whole documentary since dinner and a train were calling).(Also mentioned is that the filmmakers were very knowledgeable about alcohol, preferring a watering hole in Greenwich Village.) Even with non-professional actors and real locations, director Lionel Rogosin could not quite match the evocative power of those films due to the slightest of storylines which has little to say on the human condition.
½ December 16, 2009
The saddest and the maddest street in the world.
½ May 23, 2008
Wow, I felt like a needed a drink after seeing this - but didn't dare! Shown immediately after LITTLE FUGITIVE, this sucked from me all the good happy energy that film had given me. That's not to say this wasn't a good film of course. Not the type of film you can say you "enjoyed," but a fascinating train wreck type of thing with a dismal outlook for the mix of fictional and real characters spiraling downward into the gutters of the Bowery. Regardless of the spotty narrative, if nothing else, the amazing, startlingly photographed faces must be seen.
March 6, 2008
It's a pity Altman wasn't around to show Rogosin how to overlap dialogue; much of what was said was incomprehensible, although given the quasi-documentary nature of the film, this may have been unavoidable. Still, a good, naturalistic snapshot of the Bowery in the mid-'50s that made me want to re-read Low Life. A number of beautiful, haunting shots of the denizens of the bar where a significant portion of the film takes place.
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