6.2/10
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19 user 1 critic

The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936)

Unrated | | Documentary, Short, Drama | 10 May 1936 (USA)
This documentary is about what happened to the Great Plains of the United States when a combination of farming practices and environmental factors led to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Director:

Pare Lorentz

Writer:

Pare Lorentz
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1 win. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Thomas Chalmers Thomas Chalmers ... Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bam White Bam White ... Farmer
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Storyline

This documentary is about what happened to the Great Plains of the United States when a combination of farming practices and environmental factors led to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Picture They Dared Us To Show! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1999 this film was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: The plowman followed the herder - and the pioneer came to the plains. Make way for the plowman.
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Crazy Credits

The film's opening prologue: This is a record of land . . . of soil, rather than people -- a story of the Great Plains: the 400,000,000 acres of wind-swept grass lands that spread up from the Texas panhandle to Canada . . . A high, treeless continent, without rivers, without streams . . . A country of high winds, and sun . . . and of little rain . . . By 1880 we had cleared the Indian, and with him, the buffalo, from the Great Plains, and established the last frontier . . . A half million square miles of natural range . . . This is the picturization of what we did with it. See more »


Soundtracks

Mademoiselle From Armentieres
Composer unknown
Played as part of the score during the WWI sequence
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User Reviews

 
THE PLOW THAT BROKE THE PLAINS {Short} (Pare Lorentz, 1936) ***
7 January 2014 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This is a well-regarded documentary whose director is better-known as a movie reviewer. Though not readily translating into entertainment, the film has historical and educational value even today: it deals with the way the vast American grasslands were, first, laboriously cultivated – from which teeming cities emerged – and, then, badly damaged – at the pretext of inevitable progress – resulting in what came to be known as "The Dustbowl".

While I was wary at first that it would be a celebration of collective farming a' la the recently-viewed EARTH (1930), the half-hour short does not smooth over the pitfalls involved; indeed, it ultimately comes across as a cautionary exercise…yet one that looks hopefully towards the future (as the problem, we are told, is already being earnestly tackled by the Government). Incidentally, this subject often found its way into both literature and commercial cinema – most notably in John Ford's superb 1940 adaptation of John Steinbeck's "The Grapes Of Wrath".


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 May 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Pflug See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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