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We'll Take Manhattan
IMDB Rating: 6.8/10 from 714 votes
Release: 26 January 2012 (UK) /

We'll Take Manhattan

Genre: Drama, Romance
Director: John McKay,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: In 1962 budding young photographer David Bailey gets a fifteen guinea contract working for 'Vogue' magazine. For his first shoot,an Acrylan advert,he picks inexperienced teenage model Jean Shrimpton,who has left home to escape a bullying father and moves in with Bailey,despite his having a wife. When the magazine launches its Young Ideas feature,to capture a youth readership, Bailey and Jean are sent on a photo shoot to New York with the magazine's fashion editor Lady Clare Rendlesham. Lady Clare is incensed when Bailey defies her orders and shoots impressively unorthodox photos of his nervous muse,demanding his removal from the magazine. Vogue editor Ailsa Garland,however,recognises the innovative nature of Bailey's work and over-rules Lady Clare,giving rise to one of the most famous partnerships of the Swinging Sixties. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Critic Reviews


This dramatisation of the epochal David Bailey / Jean Shrimpton photo-shoot in New York, January 1962 made for an entertaining if occasionally shallow viewing. Presented very much as a confrontation between rebellious youth and fusty conservatism (in the person of their accompanying chaperon, the tyrannical, but brittle and of course much older Lady Rendlesham), Bailey and Shrimpton are portrayed as the advance guard of the whole Swinging 60's movement, a point rather unsubtly made with its references to the Beatles and Mary Quant just before the end.

Whether Bailey's contribution to photography was quite as seismic as the Beatles on music or Quant on fashion is open to debate but as a light, amusing and easy on the eye entertainment, it worked well I thought. Bailey's famous pictures are well recreated, much to the righteous indignation of behind-the-times Rendlesham, and while there's not much more to the piece than their various contretemps, interspersed with Shrimpton's occasional vulnerability, precocity and gaucheness, one has to respect the difficulty in making the fashion world a gripping dramatic undertaking.

The acting of the three leads was very good, Aneurin Bernard especially good as the saturnine, Cockney-on-the-make, "don't call me David" Bailey, Helen McCrory equally so as the ever-so posh Lady Rendlesham and if Karen Gillan sometimes seems too old for the 18 that the real Shrimpton was at the time, she comes through in the end as her character develops some maturity and wisdom. I don't have much of an opinion of the fashion world but saw from this how the whole "supermodel" phenomenon of recent times got its start. Whether that was something I desperately needed to know, I'm not sure but the production did satisfy my curiosity in British popular culture in the 60's and was also one of the rare programmes my wife and I could sit and watch together with equal interest and yes, enjoyment

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