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Linotype: The Film

2012

NR CC

A feature-length documentary centered around the Linotype type casting machine.

Starring:
Elln Hagney
Runtime:
1 hour, 16 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Douglas Wilson
Starring Elln Hagney
Studio FilmBuff
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video
I stumbled across this movie quite by accident and am really glad to have seen it. I had no idea how important the Linotype was in advancing the availability of reading materials to so many people. It was also fascinating to learn about it's evolution, starting with a need to make copies of notes to a becoming a working machine. It's so complex it's a miracle that it works at all, but was the cutting edge technology for printing for 80 years. Thankfully there are still a few people interested in perserving a few Linotype machines for the computer generation to learn about. At just over an hour and a quarter, it's a short film, well worth your time to watch.
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Format: Amazon Video
It was like being back there again, 40 years on! I worked for 6 years on a local newspaper and worked a Linotype machine for about 18 months of that time. The Linotype was as complicated and well-engineered as a watch, and was a marvel to watch and work. The film describes how coming of the Linotype was the latter day equivalent of Facebook, Twitter & the World Wide Web all arriving simultaneously, and thereby allowing the printed word to reach the masses more quickly and more cheaply. It changed everything.
This film is a superb evoaction of traditional newspaper production prior to computerisation. Listening to the Linotype machines transported me straight back to my Apprenticeship (£9 a week!) in 1972.
Many thanks to all involved in the production of this film, it goes some way to ensure that a past skill is forever showcased, and hopefully preserved for all to enjoy.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
The damndest thing about it is they probably did film what they needed to, but it got left on the cutting room floor. No one knows how to take pictures of machinery anymore. Its not that it would waste time, since the machine cycles in under 10 seconds. Holding the camera stationary and filming the machine for 3 cycles from 3 different angles would do alot to teach neophytes exactly what the machine did and how it did it. As it is, they have to download the 'online archives' from wikipedia and try to imagine what the machine is doing in their mind's eye.

Social Scientist documentary editors are only interested in the Human Interest part of the story. Fair enough. But the people they are filming feel the way they do strictly because of the machine and the ingenuity required of the men who designed it. To leave that out (visual proof of the reflected intelligence of the machine) is to leave the viewer guessing as to the whole story.
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Format: Amazon Video
I gotta be honest; I didn't know what to expect with this film. A movie about a printing machine? It simply didn't sound that interesting to me. I heard so many good things about it, but I went in to the theater not having any idea what to expect. I walked out of the theater pleased as punch, and pre-ordered the film before I even left. I plan on showing it to just about anybody that comes over to the house. This turned out to be a completely captivating film with flawless directing and editing that is driven by remarkably interesting and often hilarious characters. Don't let the seemingly boring subject matter fool you. There is not a dull moment in this film.
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Format: Amazon Video
This documentary is the essence of Linotype. It's beautifully crafted, and packed with history and love. Douglas Wilson has done a tremendous job integrating such a wide variety of elements. He switches with ease between historic photos and films, animations, and interviews with Linotype operators, historians, and type designers. It's educational, nostalgic, and informative. I loved it. At 76 minutes it's not too long and I also recommend that you watch the director's commentary, which was fascinating. (I'm assuming that this is available on the Amazon Instant Video version, I know it's on the DVD.) I'm looking forward to viewing the deleted scenes (which are also included on the DVD I purchased). I can't say enough good things about this documentary. Buy it.
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Format: Amazon Video
Who would have guessed? A documentary about the LINOTYPE? A letter press typesetting machine?

Who would have guessed that it could hold your attention while it spins its story? This invention (a behemoth made with the precision of a fine wristwatch) was the information revolution of its time, making print cheaper and more widely available than ever before.

This machine literally changed the world.

The direction and editing are brilliant. The interviews are woven together with art and skill.

A story worth telling, worth hearing, and worth learning from.

Five solid gold stars. I look forward to this film-maker's future work.
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Far from mainstream and little too quirky at times but still very informative. Linotype the film is a little corner of history that few people know about.
The film covers the history of the Linotype machine and its impact on the world. It is a great piece of history and the director does an excellent job of covering the need for development, the challenge of creating a working design, the rise to the top of the class and the ultimate fall of the technology. There is a very human connection to the story and the director does an outstanding job of using real people to cover both the use of the machine and its incredible impact on the world.
If you have an interest in mechanical devices, watch it!
If you have a connection to the printed media, watch it!
If you have a love for the power of American inventions and industry, watch it!
If you have an interest in American history, watch it!

The film is relatively short but suffers slightly from a lack of editing. I'm not criticizing it for the length but the human interest stories imbedded within the history could have benefited from just a bit more editing. I almost want to give it 5 stars just for the excellent history instruction it provides. If you teach mechanical design or some type of history of print, this is a must see in your class.
If you are just a fan of American history it is well worth the time to take it in.
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