8.1/10
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61 user 39 critic

The Crowd (1928)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 3 March 1928 (USA)
The life of a man and woman together in a large, impersonal metropolis through their hopes, struggles and downfalls.

Director:

King Vidor

Writers:

King Vidor (screen play), John V.A. Weaver (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Eleanor Boardman ... Mary Sims
James Murray ... John Sims
Bert Roach ... Bert
Estelle Clark ... Jane
Daniel G. Tomlinson Daniel G. Tomlinson ... Jim - Mary's Brother
Dell Henderson ... Dick - Mary's Brother
Lucy Beaumont ... Mary's Mother
Freddie Burke Frederick Freddie Burke Frederick ... Junior Sims
Alice Mildred Puter Alice Mildred Puter ... Baby Sims
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Storyline

Born on the fourth of July, 1900, the future holds unlimited potential for newborn John Sims. But dreams soon fade with the death of his father when John is but a lad. Like many before him, John sets out to make his mark in New York City, but ends up a faceless worker (#137) in a large office of a large business. Still he is happy with his fate and soon meets a young woman named Mary on a blind double date. Things take their course and they soon marry and live in a small apartment. Soon John is bickering with Mary and finds that he has no love for the in-laws. When the marriage looks like a bust, he finds that Mary is with child and he stays. After 5 years, he has a son and a daughter and the same dead end job. When tragedy strikes, John must find the conviction to continue or lose what little he has left. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A powerful drama of modern marriage- a marriage that goes smash, and how it is saved. See yourself in "THE CROWD." (Print Ad- Steuben Courier,((Bath, NY)) 14 September 1928) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

3 March 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

One of the Mob See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

MGM head Louis B. Mayer hated the film. He insisted that a new ending be shot, set in a mansion showing John and Mary by a glittering Christmas tree. John has become a success at writing ad slogans. Mary's new dialogue title was to read: "Honest, Johnny, way down deep in my heart, I never lost faith in you for a minute." See more »

Goofs

In the sequences with John and his son on the bridge over the railroad tracks, for most of the scene they are on one bridge with no overhead trusses and arched sides. Then in the last shot they are on a completely different bridge with overhead trusses and straight sides. See more »

Quotes

Jane: [to Bert after passing a diorama depicting Washington crossing the Delaware] Sit down. You don't look historical. You look hysterical.
See more »

Alternate Versions

MGM forced director King Vidor to film seven different endings to the film, giving exhibitors the chance to pick a happy or sad one as they pleased. Not a single exhibitor chose to use a happy ending. See more »

Connections

Followed by Our Daily Bread (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"The crowd laughs with you always, but it will cry with you for only a day"
11 December 2010 | by ackstasisSee all my reviews

The most remarkable thing about 'The Crowd (1928)' is that is manages to cover so much emotional ground. John (James Murray) is a young man who knew from an early age that he would become somebody special, that he would stand out from the crowd. At age 21, he travels to New York, the towering metropolis introduced via a montage of impressive high- angled shots that resemble Robert Florey's 'Skyscraper Symphony (1929).' John joins the accounting sector of a large insurance firm, and studiously assures himself that he need only work his way up. Years pass. John marries, has two children. It takes him five years to realise that he has become what he swore never to become: a member of The Crowd.

Vidor's message is a double-edged sword. Early in the film, The Crowd is something to be loathed: the camera, in a virtuoso display of technical brilliance, swoops down upon a seemingly-endless room of seated accountants, each man turning pages in mechanical unison. (Billy Wilder later paid homage to this scene in 'The Apartment (1960)'). But when John finally determines to break free from The Crowd, his world falls apart around him – he can't maintain a job, his wife threatens to leave him, he loses his dignity. The film's ending is intriguing in its ambiguity: John is absorbed into the crowds of a laughing theatre audience.

Is it a happy ending, an embracing of conformity? Is it ironic, an acknowledgment of mass delusion? Is Vidor integrating his character into the cinema audience? In 'The Bicycle Thief (1948),' a similar disappearance into the crowd is viewed as tragic, but here I'm not so sure. F.W. Murnau's 'The Last Laugh (1924)' told a similar tale, depicting the bleak prospects of a working-class doorman, played by Emil Jannings. UFA studio thwarted that film by enforcing a ludicrous happy ending that Murnau included only with a snide introductory title card. M-G-M also toyed with a happy ending to 'The Crowd,' but fortunately Vidor's version ultimately won out, a conclusion genuinely unsettling in its uncertainty, and sure to inspire discussion.


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