Bruce Conner (1933-2008)
Take the 5:10 to Dreamland (1976)
Take the 5:10 to Dreamland (1976) is a short experimental film by Bruce Conner, using the technique of found footage. It is composed out of found images from the 1940s-1950s from different sources such as educational hm and soundtrack. It is closely related to Valse Triste, another found footage short by Bruce Conner.
The main catalyst for Take the 5:10 to Dreamland was the soundtrack composed by Patrick Gleeson, a dreamlike trance of different long, pacing tones and birdcalls. According to Bruce Conner, the first time he heard the composition, he started to envision dreamlike images appearing and disappearing. Because of the length of the composition (5 minutes and 10 seconds) they decided to call the short Take the 5:10 to Dreamland. Bruce Conner had been collecting a lot of footage from educational movies over the years and decided to use these images for the short.
The sepia tinting, which adds a lot to the nostalgic atmosphere, was actually unintentional and the result of a couple of problems Conner and Gleeson had with the transformation of the sound to the optical printer. The solution to these problems required the use of color film instead of black and white film, because color film generates the sharpest, clearest sound. Since black and white film hardly ever looks like black and white when it’s transferred onto color, tinting was necessary.
Bruce Conner: “It seemed to me that the appropriate color was sepia, but I wouldn’t have thought about making a sepia-toned print if that situation hadn’t occurred.”