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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Grapes of Wrath (released in 1940) starring Henry Fonda - A great movie based on the book by John Steinbeck

Grapes of Wrath is a cult film in the era of motion pictures. This Oscar nominated movie has been adapted from John Steinbeck's novel of the same name which in turn has been a literary milestone in its own right. Grapes of Wrath has won Steinbeck the Pulitzer prize and the ultimate Nobel prize for literature. Even though nominated for eight categories, Grapes of Wrath had only won 2 Oscars, for the best director and the best supporting actress. But nobody can deny the social relevance of this amazing saga which depicts raw human emotions and travails.
Grapes of Wrath opens with Tom Joad on his way home, paroled from prison for homicide. He meets preacher Jim Casy who has seen so much of hardships that his faith is shaken. They reach Tom's homestead, which is deserted and repossessed by the lending authorities. Muley Graves, one of the neighbors takes Tom to his now destitute family living with their uncle John Joad. Joad's have lost everything in the dust bowl of Oklahoma and being impoverished are seduced by the advertisement about a promising life in California. Even though Tom Joad cannot leave Oklahoman due to parole restrictions, he risks the journey to California to find a better life.

So the Joad family of 12, along with Casy loads everybody into the old 1926 Hudson super six sedan and set out west on route 66 to California. But soon they realize that they are not the only ones making this journey, the route is filled with families in a similar predicament. Portents of bad news comes along with experienced travelers who warn them not to expect anything but hardships in California. The arduous journey takes a toll on the Joad's with grandpa Joad dying and has to be buried on the wayside and Connie Rivers, husband of Tom's pregnant sister Rose, deserting her.
The Joads on reaching California, enter their first transient migrant camp filled with jobless vagrants and laborers. They have a tough time finding a place to sleep and have a showdown with a group called the agitators. They move to another camp called Keene Ranch where situation is still more precarious. After a hard day of work they find that they still cannot afford food from the camp store. Soon they are attracted to unions and Tom and Casy try to attend meetings organized by a striking group of migrants. Here tragedy strikes as the group is discovered by the guards who attack the strikers. Casy is killed by one of the guards and Tom is wounded and inadvertently kills one of the guards in self defense. The Joad family hides Tom and they are able to slip away from Keene Ranch to reach the federally operated clean camp called Farm workers wheat patch camp.
Tom realizes that he must change the world and find a better deal for every worker. He leaves to join in a mission committed to social justice and the Joad family supports him. Ma Joad concludes that the hardships have made them tougher and nobody can wipe them out from this world. Grapes of Wrath has been in the list of the best films made in the 21st century. It has been well received by the critics and has been a discerning film for a student of the the craft of film making.

Grapes of Wrath (released in 1940) starring Henry Fonda - A great movie based on the book by John Steinbeck

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