High Steel / Don Owen / National Film Board of Canada / 1965

High Steel / Don Owen / National Film Board of Canada / 1965


Footnotes

The tone of High Steel is exuberant, largely because of Macomber’s pride in his work and the exhilarating cinematography courtesy of John Spotton. Francks’s uptempo song (it was originally supposed to be provided by Gordon Lightfoot) talks about “building mountains of iron and steel,” valorizing the Mohawks’ work and skill and imbuing their activities with a quasi-natural aspect. The shoot itself was rather risky, which may account for the overexcited tone. (The film crew, shooting with heavy and cumbersome 35 mm cameras, had to gain access to the construction site many feet above the ground by climbing across a ladder from an adjacent building.) ➡︎

The song's apparent attempt to obliterate the complexity of the Indians' experience as presented in the images illustrates the way in which economic and human motives become so involved with each other in Owen's films that it is difficult to disentangle them. ➡︎


Sources

◼︎ The Lost Canadian: Don Owen / Point of View Magazine / 2005

◼︎ Don Owen's Obliterated Environments / James Leach / Dalhousie Review, Volume 60, Number 2 / 1980


Absteigend / Evan Caminiti / Paul Clipson / 2012

Absteigend / Evan Caminiti / Paul Clipson / 2012

Going Up	/ Gary Pollard / 1990

Going Up / Gary Pollard / 1990