John Ford is one of the greatest directors of the 20th century. His professional capacity is extraordinary.
Although he is known more for his films of the western genre (“La Diligencia” 1939; “Centauros of the Desert “1954;” Who killed Liberty Balance “1961) there are dramas that do not leave us unsatisfied like” The Delator “( 1935) and “How green was my Valley” (1941) among others.
But there is a work that portrays the poverty of North American society in the decade of the years 30 ‘s (based on a literary work ): “The Grapes of Wrath” by the writer John Steinbeck.
The setting focuses on the context of the Great Depression that the United States experienced from the so-called crash of 1929, when the great crisis broke out over the collapse of the Stock Market in New York City.
From this moment on, unemployment, despair, famine and the evicted are the protagonists in this total catastrophe.
Henry Fonda plays Tom Joad who, getting his parole, returns home (Oklahoma) and meets his childhood friend, former preacher Jim Casy (John Carradine).
The latter tells him that his family is at his uncle’s house because the banks have taken over all the farms as a result of the lack of mortgage payments.
Tom meets his family, and what remains of his possessions, and together they decide to head west, specifically to California, where they have been told that there are many jobs available with high salaries.
They are seduced by the news and set out on the journey there together with their childhood friend. But it turns out that the expected news is not as they had planned.
When they finally reach their destination, they find that there is an excess of labor; Therefore, wages are low, with the absence of acceptable labor rights.
Large business corporations take advantage of the situation, so small producers are harmed and are displaced by an unequal market and savagery.
In response to all this abuse, they try to organize in a union and call a demonstration ending in a violent way where Tom’s friend is killed, and the latter ends up murdering his attacker becoming a runaway.
In a memorable scene near the end of the film is when Tom Joad says goodbye to his mother and says: I will be everywhere, everywhere wherever you look , where there is a possibility that the hungry eat, there I will be, where there is a man who suffers there I will be, and I will be in the laughter of children when they feel hungry and dinner is already prepared, and when men eat from the land that they work and live in the houses they build I’ll be there too. ”
With this phrase the character is positioned as a standard bearer of the most deprived to be a channel of expression for that oppressed class.
“The Grapes of Wrath” has memorable performances, especially by Henry Fonda and John Carradine where they show their histrionic abilities; but we cannot forget the actress Jane Darwell who plays the role of Tom Joad’s mother for which she was awarded the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
The Photography is by the genius Gregg Toland who he gains a singular notoriety when the following year he made the cinematography of the film “Citizen Kane” and a staging by director John Ford, which is an anthology.
” The Grapes of Wrath ” is a masterpiece from the point of view of literature and cinema.
• The final scenes between Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) and Ma Joad (Jane Darwell) are moving, because they show the struggle and loneliness of the working class, a constant in their lives and parts of a whole, despite individualism.
• Gregg Toland is known for his many tricks with the help of Orson Welles in Citizen Kane (1941 ); However, he has already tried some genius in this film, by the hand of John Ford. She used shadow and darkness a lot as forms of expression of that feeling dejected by the hardships she experienced.
• She was a candidate for six Oscars, among them for best film. Director John Ford and Best Supporting Actress Jane Darwell won in their respective categories.
• In 1989 was considered “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant »By the Library of Congress of the United States and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
+ Technical data:
Rating: 5/5 (Excellent)
Original name: The Grapes of Wrath
Duration: 129 minutes
From the director John Ford: He was one of the outstanding filmmakers of Hollywood cinema. Oscar winner for Best Director four times.