Documentary showing the poor state that American agriculture had fallen into during the Great Depression.

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Documentary showing the poor state that American agriculture had fallen into during the Great Depression.

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January 2001 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

La terra  »

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1.37 : 1
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Edited into The World Is Rich (1948) See more »

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ALMOST UNSEEN MASTERPIECE
23 January 2001 | by See all my reviews

Flaherty made this docu about the dire consequences of 100 years of over-production of cotton just as the USA was entering World War2, & it wasn't shown then, because it might give the enemy a propaganda advantage. It was, however shown on BBC TV a few years ago, & only last week at the wonderful Aldeburgh (Suffolk, UK) cinema on a proper screen, when the composer, Richard Arnell, 83, told us of his meeting as a young man with Flaherty in Washington. In fact the musical score, which fills the entire 45 minutes of the film is as striking as the poetic imagery of the dust bowl, the indigent farmers, the extreme poverty of a family living & reproducing in a shack and the mass migration to California where so few would find work. The upbeat ending, where wonderful threshing machines swiftly harvest the land, has the irony that still more labourers would be out of work. The only pity is that Flaherty, at heart a silent film director, wouldn't let his subjects speak


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