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Lem goes to Chicago to sell the wheat his family has grown on their farm in Minnesota. There he meets the waitress Kate. They fall in love and get married before going back to the farm. Kate is accepted by Lem's mother and kid sister but is rejected by his father, who believes she married for the money. (And the fact that Lem didn't get a fair price for the wheat is her fault too). The reapers arrive and quickly they make things even more complicated by making their move on Kate. Lem misunderstands the situation and believes Kate is actually interested. In despair Kate leaves the farm and Lem goes looking for her. Written by
Frank Dabelstein <email@example.com>
True, it isn't "Sunrise" (what is?) and it isn't even the complete silent version as Murnau envisioned it, but it's still a beautifully expressive film from one of the great masters. What's more, it's the only film I've ever seen which pinpoints a pivotal moment in American history (it seems to be set before the Crash). One thing that precipitated the Great Depression was the squeeze on farmers, who had no profit margin at all, and whose only recourse was to plant more and more, unwittingly worsening their own situation. One of the conflicts is that Charles Farrell is sent to the city to sell the wheat crop at the most advantageous price (and this is a desperate necessity), and not only fails to do so but comes home with a (perhaps unsuitable) new wife. The family patriarch has planted the farm in wheat right up to the front door, and even reprimands his little girl for picking a stalk of it to play with. They are drowning in a product everybody needs but which barely supports them, and on which they are completely dependent. The contrast between an agricultural America far from idyllic and a motorized city whose drudgery for most is at least as bad is redeemed by the awakening of human feelings and re-ordered priorities. Nothing will save these people but love and family.
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