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
American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films 1931-1940 credits C.E. Anderson in the role of "blacksmith"; actually he plays the butcher who trades John a scrawny chicken for his ukulele. 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.
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At the time of this film's release, it was a pure novelty. Hollywood had paid little attention to the people in rural areas who had to deal with the Depression. The fact that this movie was made at all is somewhat miraculous since most people didn't want to see films about human struggle -even if they did have happy endings. They just wanted glamour and thrills (amazing how some things never change!). But the most miraculous thing was that Hollywood even allowed a film with a blatantly obvious socialist theme to be made. But then that's what most Americans called Franklin Roosevelt's policies anyway, despite that his 'New Deal' plan lifted the country up out of the mire of hopelessness. This film is hardly a documentary-like look at the effects of the New Deal (which in this scenario was basically co-op living and farming). Nor does it try to be propagandist, preachy or artistic, like Vidor's contemporaries in the Soviet Union. It was able to be made simply because it accepted the form of Hollywood populist cinema, which was basically: keep it melodramatic, cute, and non-threatening. It's sort of like 'Capra goes country', or like the Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney movies, only instead of everyone saying "hey, let's put on a show!", they build a farming community, and carry shovels instead of batons. It's a fascinating look at how people saw this country back then and how Hollywood approached The New Deal.
If you can, try to rent this on DVD because the DVD comes with four fascinating documentary shorts containing different viewpoints of The New Deal.
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