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
The part of the movie in which Congressman Joe Starnes asks Federal Theatre Project director Hallie Flanagan if Christopher Marlowe is a Communist and Flanagan responds that he was not--that he was "the greatest dramatist in the period immediately preceding Shakespeare," is repeated verbatim from the transcript of Flanagan's testimony in front of the house Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in December 1938. See more »
The opening scene takes place in "Fall 1936", but the newsreel says Italian forces are "poised to invade" Ethiopia. The invasion actually took place in October 1935. See more »
There is a heart in the credit roll with the following initials inside; SS, EMLA, JHR & MGR (SS is likely 'Susan Sarandon,' EMLA for Sarandon's daughter Eva Amurri, JHR & MGR for Robbins' & Sarandon's sons Jack Henry & Miles Robbins). See more »
A Brilliant Depiction of the Universal Struggle of Artists
Tim Robbins creates a brilliant social commentary in the same in-your-face style as "Bob Roberts". I adore the statements Robbins makes about social politics, as well as the problems with the idea of "art for art's sake". He lyrically tells the story of the struggle of performing and visual artists around the Depression era, choosing between their art and their livelihood--a struggle that is universal for artists through the expanse of time. The concept of this film is a breakthrough for the big screen, since Hollywood seems to be the capital of "selling out". The comments on artistic integrity are strong and literally moving in the acting of an amazing cast, as well as the way in which the story is edited to David Robbins' beautiful score. The entire film is simply poetic. This film is truly a masterpiece to any artist, or to anyone who knows what it like to compromise your values to survive.
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