Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Triangle: Remembering the Fire

posted by Nell Minow

One hundred years ago this week, 146 people were killed in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, a tragedy compounded because it was the result of preventable neglect and safety violations. An excellent new documentary, Triangle: Remembering the Fire, is showing this month on HBO. The film includes interviews with family members of those who were injured or killed in what was the deadliest industrial tragedy in New York history as well as the descendants of the factory owners, who were there with their children the day of the fire but were able to escape. Some members of their extended family were also working there and were killed. Most of the people who died were immigrant women who were trapped when the fire started, in some cases because the doors were locked to keep them inside. Many were killed not by the fire but by leaping out of the windows in a desperate attempt to escape after the flimsy fire escape collapsed. Six of the victims were not identified until February of this year, 100 years later.

Advertisement

The film documents not just the terrible events of March 25, 1911 but also the reform efforts they inspired. The company’s managers failed to make even the most rudimentary efforts at safety for the workers. While those injured and the families of those killed were not entitled to any benefits, the managers were reimbursed by insurance and were not responsible for any fines or compensation for the losses. This led to the first recognition that the industrial era required the involvement of organized labor and government to ensure that basic protections were in place, a crucial turning point in the history of public policy and politics. The film was inspired when a previous film from the same producers about the garment industry began with a short mention of the Triangle factory fire and ended with a similar recent story about a fire at a factory in Bangladesh. Its lessons are as important today as they were a century ago.

Advertisement

Triangle: Remembering the FireTriangle: Remembering the Fire TV Schedule

For more information, see: The lesson guide for teachers and students on the HBO website, American Experience: Triangle Fire, Triangle: The Fire That Changed America, and The Triangle Fire: A Brief History with Documents

  • Pingback: World Spinner

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Tim1974

    It is certainly sad to realize that it took such a tragedy and loss of life for society to recognize that changes in the industrial north needed to be made. Just as appalling is the fact that those responsible for such a disaster did not feel it necessary to help out the families who had survivors or change any industry policies until being forced to. This leads to the question of whether society has learned from the past or does it continue to overlook or ignore issues that need attention today.

    • Nell Minow

      That is the question, Tim, which is why I am so glad this film is showing on HBO — and that CNN broadcast it yesterday as well.

Previous Posts

Trailer: The Little Prince
The beloved book The Little Prince has been gorgeously animated, with voices including Jeff Bridges, James Franco, and Rachel McAdams.  I love this trailer. [iframe frameborder="0" width="480" height="270" ...

posted 8:00:24am Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Samuel L. Jackson is the President in "Big Game"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKThy0cipVA ...

posted 8:00:34am Apr. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Song from the Forest
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekirhw2MMwQ I was delighted to see that there is a documentary about Louis Sarno, whose work I have admired since I saw the wonderful film Oka! directed by Lavinia ...

posted 8:00:43am Apr. 24, 2015 | read full post »

The Age of Adaline
Be careful what you wish for.  You think it would be great to stay 29 forever?  Adaline (Blake Lively) finds out that it is not great to become unstuck from time, to watch everyone you love grow old and die, to hurt those you care about ...

posted 5:59:10pm Apr. 23, 2015 | read full post »

The Water Diviner
Before it detours into not one, not two, but at least three preposterous Hollywood twists, "The Water Diviner" is an absorbing drama about ...

posted 5:58:54pm Apr. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.