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
Despite the fact that this was filmed in Super 35, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits. See more »
During the discussion in the Federal Theatre Project office early in the film, a (color) wall map of the USA can be seen including Alaska and Hawaii. Neither of these states were part of the union in 1936, but were U.S. territories. See more »
Cradle Will Rock has everything I like in a movie - great characters, humor, suspense, depth, and music. The many subplots are woven together in perfect balance, leaving you wanting more of everything at the end, even though the film is over two hours.
The acting is excellent all around, especially Cherry Jones' portrayal of Hallie Flanagan, the head of the Federal Theater. Ruben Blades and Angus MacFadyen give us Diego Rivera and Orson Welles, respectively, and do not disappoint. It's rare to see so many charismatic, likeable people in a movie with a real story. There is no one star of the film - everyone is sharing the spotlight equally. Tim Robbins has really done a magnificent job of putting all the pieces in the right places.
And perhaps best of all, this is a film with real controversy - one that will get you thinking about art and politics and unions and the influence of money on everything. Cradle Will Rock is such an ambitious piece of work, it could have failed in so many different ways, and yet it succeeds on every level. Check it out.
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