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Thursday, March 24, 2011

TV Show Review: HBO's Triangle: Remembering the Fire

Triangle: Remembering the Fire
45 mins
March 21, 2011

I have to start this review off by giving major kudos to the producers of this HBO documentary.  They did a phenomenal job!  I had all the faith in the world that they would do justice to this terribly sad tragedy – but I never thought it would actually bring tears to my eyes.  It evoked so much emotion.  If you missed this one – look for it on demand or whatever way you can.  It should not be missed.

A few weeks ago I reviewed the American Experience episode – Triangle Fire.  As I described in my review this was more of a re-enactment/historical rendering of what happened before, during, and after the fire.  This HBO documentary dove more into the human aspect of the fire.  They still discussed the before, during, and after but it was told through stories and memories from decedents of those involved in the fire.  This brought out more of the emotional side of the story and I think it is what drew me to connect with it so strongly.  I thought that both shows were important for show two different aspects of the same event and watching them together really gives you a very complete sense of the tragedy.

A major portion of the show was made up of stories being told by descendents of those who lived the fire.  They were not just descendents of those who survived and those who died (like you would most likely expect) but also they were descendents of a more niche group – the elevator operators who really were heroes, the firemen, the family members who identified the bodies, those who jumped from the windows.  The biggest surprise for me in this whole show was one particular descendent who I never would have expected to have been a part of this, but who I am very glad was – the granddaughter of one of the Triangle Factory owners!  I found myself instantly to put up a wall against her (I initially went into the owner v. worker mode).  While she was happy that her grandfather was not incarcerated for this major tragedy (which I found more in my way to not liking her), she was also very sorry for the victims.  She had my favorite quote of the whole night, “if I had a daughter that had died in that fire, and he wasn’t my grandfather, I would have probably shot him”.  The telling of these stories really brought the story home for me. 

The ending of this film really brings the event right up into the 21st century and the 100th anniversary of this event.  They showed some of the remembrance events that are held every year – including the reading of names, laying of flowers and even showed some of the sidewalk chalk writing that I mentioned in my previous post.  They wrapped it up with a listing of all of those who died.

Overall I thought that this was a wonderful way to remember those who died in this tragedy.  I recommend if you missed this one that you see it.

Here is the trailer for the episode (I couldn’t find any longer clips):

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I recorded it on my DVR and my husband and I watched it last night - and I subsequently cried my eyes out. HBO did do a fabulous job. The pictures were absolutely horrifying, and that was tough to watch but that is part of history. And how the stories were told from the descendants? That was a great idea. I've been researching my genealogy lately so that was interesting to watch.

  2. Coffee and a Book Chick - glad you got to see it. I have done a lot of research on this subject - so most of it wasn't new - but to have it told from the decedents added more compassion and made it more human.


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