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Cradle Will Rock (1999)

 -  Drama  -  12 April 2000 (France)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 7,638 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 157 user | 71 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

A true story of politics and art in the 1930s U.S., focusing on a leftist musical drama and attempts to stop its production.

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Title: Cradle Will Rock (1999)

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Cast

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Storyline

In 1930s New York Orson Welles tries to stage a musical on a steel strike under the Federal Theater Program despite pressure from an establishment fearful of industrial unrest and red activity. Meanwhile Nelson Rockefeller gets the foyer of his company headquarters decorated and an Italian countess sells paintings for Mussolini. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1930s | theatre | depression | union | play | See more »

Taglines:

Art is never dangerous -- unless it tells the truth. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

12 April 2000 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Abajo el telón  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$93,998 (USA) (10 December 1999)

Gross:

$2,899,970 (USA) (21 April 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is based on actual events, though it takes liberties with the details. Marc Blitzstein's 1937 anti-capitalist operetta 'The Cradle Will Rock', about the effort to unionize steelworkers, was originally produced as part of the Federal Theatre Project. The Federal Theatre Project (1935-1939), in turn, was part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which was created in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to employ people during the Great Depression. Directed by Orson Welles and produced by John Houseman, Cradle was shut down right before it was due to open because of "budget cuts" at the FTP. Everyone involved believed the government deliberately cut funding because the play's message offended its more conservative contingent; Actor's Equity prohibited its members from taking part, apparently oblivious to the fact that Cradle was a pro-union piece and Actor's Equity was - and is - a union. Welles, Housman and Blitzstein spontaneously rented another theater and planned to put on Cradle with Blitzstein himself singing/reading the piece; the show sold out and various actors defied Equity and performed their parts from the seats they'd bought. The secondary plot which involved Mexican painter Diego Rivera butting heads with Nelson Rockefeller when the mural the latter commissioned for a Rockefeller Center lobby on the high-minded subject of "human intelligence in control of the forces of nature" included a portrait of Lenin, is also based on fact, though it happened in 1933. The incident is also dramatized in the 2002 film Frida (2002). Tim Robbins included it because it tied into the theme of artistic integrity vs. economic practicality. See more »

Goofs

Diego Rivera's mural in Rockefeller Center was destroyed in February of 1934. The unauthorized performance of "The Cradle Will Rock" took place on 16 June 1937. Hallie Flanagan testified before Congressman Dies' committee on 6 December 1938. For artistic effect, the film makes it seem that the three events occur simultaneously. See more »

Quotes

John Houseman: I've always said the play would be better on a bare stage.
Orson Welles: Actually, Hallie said that.
John Houseman: No, I said it first.
Orson Welles: No you didn't.
John Houseman: Yes I did.
Orson Welles: No, you didn't!
John Houseman: Yes, I did!
Orson Welles: No, you DIDN'T!
John Houseman: Yes, I BLOODY WELL DID!
Orson Welles: Oh, *fine*, Jack! You win, you've got the biggest creative dick, okay?
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

This film was edited on old fashioned machines. See more »


Soundtracks

Oh What a Filthy Night Court
Written by Marc Blitzstein
Performed by Henry Stram, Erin Hill, Daniel Jenkins (as Dan Jenkins),
Timothy Jerome (as Tim Jerome), Victoria Clark (as Vicki Clark) and Chris McKinney
Courtesy of RCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Deserves more praise than it gets
29 January 2004 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

This may suffer from having a few too many plot lines and characters (Emily Watson, for example, is a role too far), but most of what's there is excellent. Bill Murray is as good as he has been recently in Rushmore and Lost in Translation, and the Cusacks are at their best. This is a film that lingers with you after you've seen it, and gives a fascinating insight into a turbulent time.


23 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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