This short Depression-era documentary describes the importance of the Mississippi River to the United States. It laments the environmental destruction committed in the name of progress, ... See full summary »
This short Depression-era documentary describes the importance of the Mississippi River to the United States. It laments the environmental destruction committed in the name of progress, particularly farming and timber practices which cause massive erosion and result in vast amounts of top soil being washed down the river into the Gulf of Mexico. The film focuses especially on the impact this has had on impoverished farmers. It ends on a very upbeat note, however, with a celebration of the TVA, "modern" farming technology, and the use of dams to control the river and prevent flooding. Written by
As Pare Lorentz did for the Southern Plains about the Dust Bowl in a previous documentary, here is focuses on the Mississippi River. Virgil Thomson composed music to help enhance the documentary. During the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs helped to understand and educate others throughout the country about causes such as saving the Mississippi River and the Southern Plains in the Dust Bowl years. Pare Lorentz does a decent job in a time when documentaries were still new as with films in general. The documentary is short enough but long enough to explain the Mississippi River. It would have been nicer to have heard from people along the Mississippi River who are probably generations of families have lived to earn a living. The documentary is fine for historic review and the music is ingenious in understanding the river's significance. The Mississippi River stretches from Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana and has been an important part of American history.
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