Review of Cadillac Desert (1997)

Moving picture, 4.1 hours

Seen in 2021.

The modern history of water infrastructure and policy in western USA.

The first three episodes appear to be pretty closely based on the 1986 book of the same name, whose author—Marc Reisner—appears frequently in this short series. So do clips from Chinatown (1974), and from an interview with its author. The fourth and final episode departs from that theme, instead adapting Sandra Postel’s Last Oasis (1992), touring what was then still called the “third world” and advocating conservation: the reduced use of water where the resource is scarce.

cultural landscape moving picture non-fiction series