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“The Killing Floor”

MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

The Killing Floor, 1985, is the first in an upcoming series of films concerning the American worker. Entitled “Made in U.S.A.,” this ambitious project is the brainchild of Elsa Rassbach, who not only functioned as executive producer of The Killing Floor but also did much of the historical research, wrote the original story, and assembled the film’s formidable cast and crew. Rassbach believes that “the history of working people is very much American history,” and her proposal is to reinsert, through the documentary film, what has been deleted from the narrative depiction of America’s economic and social development. Combing through the National Archives, she came across a 600-page chunk of overlooked American history: the story of Frank Custer, Austin “Heavy” Williams, and Bill Bremer, whose roles in the episodic melodrama of American labor and race relations are the stuff of The Killing

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