6.9/10
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Cradle Will Rock (1999)

R | | Drama | 21 January 2000 (USA)
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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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5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1930s | theatre | depression | union | play | See All (48) »

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On 12.10.99, make history. 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:

21 January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Abajo el telón  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$2,899,970 (USA) (21 April 2000)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The planned 1984 version of this story, which had to be abandoned for financial reasons, would have been directed and written by Orson Welles himself. Rupert Everett would have played the young Welles, and Amy Irving his first wife, Virginia Nicholson. Welles's unmade screenplay was published after his death. Tim Robbins has always insisted that he has never read it. See more »

Goofs

The Diego Rivera mural, as depicted in the film, is not his original Rockefeller Center version design (for which in-progress photographs exist), but of the smaller re-creation Rivera did a year later in Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. The Rockefeller Center mural was larger, whereas the spatial arrangement of features in the re-creation (and in the film) is more compact. See more »

Quotes

Gray Mathers: Get in the car! Now!
Countess LaGrange: Perhaps you've mistaken me for a spaniel.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in The Division: Cradle Will Rock (2003) 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
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User Reviews

 
Artsy, elegant manifesto with fascinating sub-plots and details.
1 August 2003 | by (Dungarvan, Ireland) – See all my reviews

Based on the events that occurred in post Depression era New York in 1936, `The Cradle Will Rock' is a spectacular extravaganza of people, places, and most of all, cultures. Truly an exemplary take on the battle of radicals and corporates, art and politics when they could be united in a common bond. Thus, it is only suiting that such a film be directed by uber-liberalist Tim Robbins. This picture simply wouldn't have worked without him.

From an overhead point of view, this is the cinematic equivalent of a protest- a real bite on shady politics. But in actuality it is something far deeper, focusing on numerous interesting sub-plots and taking in everyone's point of view. The backdrop is the closing down of a theatrical play when it is accused of being communist. Throughout the 135 minutes, we take in all of the different `isms'- fascism, capitalism, communism, Nazism, Catholicism and Judaism. Not only does this require a passing knowledge on these people and events; one must have an interest in the proceedings to get the most out of it.

One reason why there have been some negative reviews is because people are confused as to why Diego Riviera, Margherreta Sarfatti etc. are in the story. I can explain. Rather like `Magnolia (which followed on totally dissimilar outlines), you have to read the sub-text. This is a movie about passion for art and music. Marc Blitzein, Hazel Huffman and Diego Riviera (and all connected) had a deep passion for their work that the authorities would soon destroy because of rules and regulations.

Interesting is the fact that all the characters are based on true life people, and Robbins has assembled a fine cast who give noteworthy performances all across the board. One of the hardest to portray has to be Orson Welles. It's a true fact that 21-year-olds from the 1930's look much older than those from the 90's. No one wanted to see James Van Der Beek/ Casper Van Dien in the role. Thus, Angus MacFadyen was a superb choice, portraying Welles as an egotistical, self-centred man. Equally impressive is Susan Sarandon (with an impeccable exotic accent) as a Jewish Fascist art dealer. She knows exactly what she's doing and highlights some of the best scenes. Other standouts include John Cusack's aristocratic Nelson Rockafeller and Cary Elwes' interpretation of flamboyant producer/ soon-to-be Oscar winner (`The Paper Chase'- 1973) John Houseman.

If there were a flaw, it would have to be the last 15-20 minutes. What, for the most part, is an illustrious, brilliant character study later dissipates into a shiny-smiley low glitz `Singin In the Rain' effort. Such a shame, because the film was doing so tremendously up until that point. Then of course, it is 135 minutes long so much of that final sequence could and should have been excised.

Nevertheless, if you can forgive that, you have a remarkable, audacious film on hand. `The Cradle Will Rock' truly is an overseen landmark in ensembles, biopics and interweaving. By far Robbins best movie yet, the sub-plots are equally impressive from Blitzstein's paranoid delusions to Constance La Grange's over-the-top characteristics. If you are in any way interested in fascism, communism etc. then don't miss this polished, spirited picture. My IMDb rating: 7.6/10.


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