DER Documentary

If It Fits

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by John Marshall and Mark Erder
color, 58 min, 1978




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The once thriving industrial town of Haverhill, Massachusetts on the Merrimack River now resembles, in the words of one of the film's subjects, "a ghost town where you expect to see tumbleweeds come rolling down Main Street." This film examines a dying industrial town and its politicians' search for votes over such issues as municipal spending, rising taxes, the revitalization of depressed areas, and attracting new industry.

The film's central event is the 1976 Mayoral election. Election scenes are intercut with comments from Haverhill residents, members of a local foundation, political scientist Frances Fox Piven, the president of the local union, and the shoe manufacturers themselves. The oral history which surrounds the election footage is a reservoir of information about Haverhill's present condition as well as its past.

If it Fits examines a dying industrial town and its politicians' search for votes over such issues as municipal spending, rising taxes, the revitalization of depressed areas, and attracting new industry... The oral history which surrounds the election footage is a reservoir of information about Haverhill's present condition as well as its past. A wonderful example of gently observed cinéma vérité filmmaking and skillful editing.” — David Tamés, Kino-Eye, "One Hundred Documentary Films v.2" (PDF)

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
American Film Festival Finalist

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