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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > History > Political > War > Erotic > Froeign > Canadian TV > Legendary Sin Cities – Berlin, Paris, Shanghai (Documentary)

Legendary Sin Cities – Berlin, Paris, Shanghai (Documentary)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Episodes: B



A recent Canadian TV documentary mini-series called Legendary Sin Cities runs about three hours, and though the time is spent well and loaded with great footage and facts, this could have gone on at least twice as long.  That is how interesting the subject is.  The three episodes are:


1)     Berlin – Metropolis Of Vice

2)     Paris – The Crazy Years

3)     Shanghai – Paradise For Adventurers



The Berlin installment is interesting because it gives us much more blunt exposition of the kinds of freedom the city had before Hitler arrived.  You get more explicit portrayals of the sex and freedom in all cases, plus drinking, drugs, pedophilia and a virtually endless list and variety of combinations that allow all three cities to truly qualify for the title.  I was reminded of my response to an amusing criticism of Robert Rodriguez’s film Sin City (see two reviews elsewhere on this site) from those who could not believe how graphically violent and somewhat overtly sexual it was.  They also could not believe how creepy and even mean and hateful some of the characters were.  Well, it is called SIN city for a reason.  After watching this mini-series, I can say the same for the locales featured here.  It is also a solid history lesson outside of the ”sin” of the kind of facts and figures that seem to be censored, as if that would stop another such explosion of freedom from occurring.  That shows the naïve side of conservatism and political correctness.


The letterboxed 1.78 X 1 image is a big disappointment.  Though this is a recent documentary and has a mix of video and many film clips usually in fine shape, the picture is blurry and definition is foiled by digititis throughout.  That the color is consistent makes this even more frustrating.  Too bad this was not done better and anamorphic at that, but the material is still too vital to turn away from.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is simple stereo at best and the narration is clear enough, as are the interviews.  Extras include three scholars discussing each of the cities in their respective expertise.  They are short and some information overlaps with the episodes, but it is better than nothing.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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