Men At Lunch

men at lunch

Inspired by the iconic 1932 photo of 11 unnamed workers eating lunch atop a steel girder, filmmaker Seán Ó Cualáin sets out to learn their identities.

Year: 2012
Certificate: G
Director: Seán Ó Cualáin
Starring: Ken Johnston, Peter Quinn, Jim Rasenberger, Christine Roussel, Maria Tecce, Michael Whelan, Joe Woolhead

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We have all seen the iconic picture of 11 steel workers sat on a girder high above New York eating their lunch, but have you sat back and thought about the identities of those men? To be honest I hadn’t and if I’m totally honest I’d not even realised that it was an actual photo, I’d always assumed that it was staged to look that way.

‘Men At Work’ looks into the lives of the steelworkers of 1930’s New York and also the influence that immigrants had on the city at the time. The documentary digs deep into the archives to find footage and photos of the construction of the Rockefeller Building, also referred to as ’30 Rock’. Some of the old photos of the building are fascinating, especially when you see images of photographer with heavy glass-plate cameras balancing precariously on thin iron girders with no safety ropes. In fact, at times, it’s quite frightening to see how so many people risked their lives in this industry.

The main reason I watched “Men At Lunch” was because the synopsis claimed it would look into the identities of those in the photo. Sadly, this only makes up a small part of the hour-long film and even then the ‘evidence’ is severely lacking and you’d be forgiven for thinking, like I did, that those involved just wanted a free trip to New York…

As a documentary about the rise of the New York skyscrapers, their immigrant workforce and the methods involved in high-rise photography then “Men At Lunch” is interesting. However, as a documentary about the identities of the men on the beam then it is severely lacking in content.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

About Tammy

A parent blogger and mom to 3 adorable children, who likes watching documentaries and dramas.

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2 thoughts on “Men At Lunch

  1. Enjoyed this film,your comments were very accurate,have you ever considered a star rating system for reviews ? followed by a brief description.
    thanks for the service.
    best regards T dunne

    1. Personally I’m not keen on star ratings, they’re too arbitrary. My 4 stars might be your 2 stars, so we generally discuss the pros and cons of a film rather than rate them.

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