Tom Joad returns to his home after a jail sentence to find his family kicked out of their farm due to foreclosure. He catches up with them on his Uncles farm, and joins them the next day as they head for California and a new life... Hopefully. Written by
Colin Tinto <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Production began only four weeks after John Ford finished work on Drums Along the Mohawk (1939). Because of this, most of the pre-production work was done for him ahead of time, including the hiring of Gregg Toland as cinematographer, who along with art directors Richard Day and Mark-Lee Kirk planned much of the look of the film based on a vast array of research photos and documents. See more »
The same shot, from slightly different angles, of the Joads' truck crossing the desert at night is used twice, showing a single large cactus in the foreground and three sets of lights in a row on a mountain in the distance. See more »
If there was a law, they was workin' with maybe we could take it, but it ain't the law. They're workin' away our spirits, tryin' to make us cringe and crawl, takin' away our decency.
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This classic adaptation of "The Grapes of Wrath" features a fine cast as well as a skillful production headed by director John Ford. Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell are well-remembered for their roles, which are among the defining roles in their careers. The only limitations that it has come from the original novel, with its heartfelt but sometimes contrived story.
Besides Fonda and Darwell, the supporting cast features plenty of good supporting players, including Charley Grapewin and John Carradine. All of them make their characters come alive believably. They also fit together well and complement one another's performances, which accentuates the themes involved in the struggles of the Joad family.
For all that the Steinbeck novel is so revered, and for all that his story is an often compelling depiction of its characters, with whom many in the era could identify, it would have been better if it had not been so heavy-handed. Even given that the times were bad, more balance in the characters outside of the family, and in the Joads' experiences, would have made it an even better story. Certainly, this is barely even noticeable when compared with the stories in many present-day movies and novels, which often dispense with any attempts at plausibility.
And that does not stop this adaptation from being a worthwhile and often moving film. Ford clearly appreciated the potential in the material, and he and the cast work together to make each character count, and to give meaning to each scene.
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