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The World Changes (1933)

Approved | | Drama | 25 November 1933 (USA)
An ambitious farmer becomes a pioneer in the meat packing business, finding financial success but private disappointment over the course of many decades.



(screenplay), (story "America Kneels")
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Theodore Newton ...
Gordon Westcott ...
Arthur Hohl ...


An ambitious farmer becomes a pioneer in the meat packing business, finding financial success but private disappointment over the course of many decades.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 November 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Humanidade Marcha  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Once the story reaches the year 1929, all the women wear 1933 fashions, an unfortunate anachronism, since styles had changed dramatically in those four years, and everything we see them wearing in what is supposed to be 1929 is completely out of tune with the actual styles of that period. See more »


Buffalo Bill Cody: Texas Longhorns are ornery critters.
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Crazy Credits

Title card: Dakota Territory 1856 See more »


Rosen aus dem Süden, Op. 388 (Roses from the South)
Music by Johann Strauss
Played at the party after Ginny makes the announcement
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User Reviews

Nordholm Family Values
3 May 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The World Changes is a little known film that has an epic Edna Ferber like quality with a Wall Street type message in the end. In that respect its about three generations ahead of its time. I wouldn't be surprised if Oliver Stone saw this film before he did Wall Street.

Paul Muni plays the son of a good Scandinavian farming family who pioneered in the Dakota territory and for who the town of Nordholm, South Dakota is named. But Muni is not content just to be a farmer and settle down and marry Jean Muir, daughter of the second family of the town of Nordholm. He's ambitious and wants to make money, see the world, and accomplish something.

Across the Nordholm saga also come such frontier characters as Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok, and General George A. Custer. It was the first that gets him into the cattle business, but its meat packer Guy Kibbee after Muni delivers the big herd from Texas like John Wayne and Monty Clift in Red River and Randolph Scott in The Texans who shows him that the real money is in combining both ends in one business. After that Muni marries Kibbee's daughter Mary Astor and eventually inherits the whole business when Kibbee dies.

Astor's a spoiled product of Eastern finishing schools and she likewise turns their sons into spoiled copies of herself. Muni's corporation eventually as they inevitably do goes public and starts selling shares and he gets out of it all together and just indulges his worthless sons Donald Cook who is a speculator on Wall Street with a brokerage house and Gordon Westcott who is content to be a playboy with a trust fund.

In the end the family Nordholm comes crashing down in all kinds of tragedy and Muni only finding some solace in one grandson William Janney who takes up with the granddaughter of Jean Muir's character also played by Jean Muir.

Real historical events are woven into the Nordholm story in the end the Stock Market Crash. Muni delivers one stinging indictment of his sons and their business very similar to what Martin Sheen told son Charlie Sheen what he thought of his Wall Street mentor Michael Douglas as the infamous Gordon Gekko. In that sense The World Changes is a timeless film which belies its own title. Some things never change.

The World Changes was not that well received and in some cases the film does descend into melodrama. But I think it's a whole lot better than the critics thought back in the day and Muni's indictment about Wall Street paper speculating and gambling versus an ethic of hard work is maybe more valid today than back then. I think professional film critics should give this one a second look.

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