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George W. Hill
John and Mary sims are city-dwellers hit hard by the financial fist of The Depression. Driven by bravery (and sheer desperation) they flee to the country and, with the help of other workers, set up a farming community - a socialist mini-society based upon the teachings of Edward Gallafent. The newborn community suffers many hardships - drought, vicious raccoons and the long arm of the law - but ultimately pull together to reach a bread-based Utopia. Written by
Irving Thalberg, production chief at MGM, Vidor's home studio, would not back the project. Charles Chaplin was interested in the film and was able to secure a United Artists release for it. Unfortunately banks were reluctant to back a film with that subject matter. See more »
Don't worry Mary. I know things are hard now but we'll make it in the end.
But how, John? Who's going to save us?
Not who, Mary, what. The bread will save us, the bread.
See more »
King Vidor's "The Crowd" (1928) ended hopefully: James Murray and Eleanor Boardman (then playing John and Mary Sims) conquered the industrialized, impersonal City, with a new job and child replacing previous losses. But, the Sims' luck is, according to this film, cut short by the Great Depression. Tom Keene and Karen Morley (now playing John and Mary Sims) are sans job and money. With nothing to lose, the couple moves out to farm some country land owned by Ms. Morley's uncle. Mr. Keene organizes the locals into a communal society; but, nature and a woman threaten the Sims' success.
Although the lead characters resemble their namesakes from director Vidor's "The Crowd"; their tale, proclaimed as "Inspired by Headlines of Today", is derived from a "Reader's Digest" story. The characters do not share factual similarities with the original John and Mary Sims; for example, no reference is made to their children.
Vidor directed, and Keene acted, the "John" role inappropriately. Several of the supporting players are also unsuitable. Morley's Garbo-like "Mary" is a bright spot among the performances, though. Barbara Pepper answers "Garbo" with a Harlow-like "Sally". It's the closest you'll get to having Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow in the same film. However, the attempted "city girl" temptation of Keene, by Ms. Pepper, is not convincing. Interestingly, Pepper returned to country life in the 1960s, as the wife of "Fred Ziffel", on TV's "Green Acres".
The irrigating ending is unexpectedly exhilarating.
******* Our Daily Bread (1934) King Vidor ~ Karen Morley, Tom Keene, Barbara Pepper
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