A Comparison of the representation of New York in the openings of The Sopranos and Manhattan.
New York is a city well represented in the world of film and television. There have been hundreds of films and programmes, its distinctive skyline capturing the imagination of writers and directors everywhere. Scenes of New York feature, in contrasting ways in the openings of The Sopranos and Manhattan. The openings of both pieces give very different views of New York. Manhattan gives the famous stereotypical view of New York: glamour, bright lights, high, distinctive skylines and wealthy interesting people. From The Sopranos, the view is one of a far rougher tougher city with urban, industrial areas emphasised over the famous areas on Manhattan island. The Sopranos emphasises the masculinity of New York, the gangster related, multicultural society, every bit as dynamic as the refined society portrayed in the opening of Manhattan, yet featuring a faster pace of action, far more frenetic and frenzied than the laid back side shown in Manhattan. .
The overall impression of New York given by The Sopranos is one of a city with a dark side. Unlike many images of New York, this does not emphasise the city's glamorous side. The clip is very fast moving: a montage of shots all of which are speed edited together and have little link to each other beyond the obvious New York theme. The cuts are very choppy, and somewhat disorientating which explains the inclusion of a medium long shot of the Statue of Liberty: it is an establishing shot, placing the action firmly in New York. Without the shot, it would be very difficult to place the drama, as the roads and scenery around them: industrial areas, highway toll points, the usual roadway scene, symbolising ordinary life, look much like any other part of America. The majority of shots are of real life: taken through the car's side window or windscreen, a driver's eye view, and are of downmarket industrial areas.