The Grapes Of Wrath Film Analysis

Decent Essays
Drums Along the Mohawk skips back in time, and its characters are caught up in the Revolutionary War of 1776. It completes a trilogy of films that year which celebrate the vitality of the underdog and the making of the modern nation. Perhaps not as strong as the previous two, but it’s more than worth seeing just for the ceremonial raising of the first American flag at the film’s climax; Claudette Colbert’s reaction: “it’s a pretty flag, isn’t it?” 1940 saw the release of two more films by John Ford: The Grapes of Wrath and The Long Voyage Home. The Grapes of Wrath, adapted from the Steinbeck novel, follows the declining fortunes of a Midwestern family made homeless during the Great Depression. Yet another underdog tale, winning Ford his second…show more content…
In his role as head of the photographic unit for the Office of Strategic Services, he made several documentary films and instructional films that were screened to serving men. The documentary images he captured in The Battle of Midway (1942) and December 7th (1943) are simply astounding. Armed with a small 16mm camera, Ford put his life at risk to capture on film the Battle of Midway in the Pacific as the US forces battled the Japanese in the sea and in the air. On the other end of the spectrum was Sex Hygiene (1942), which does exactly what it says on the tin. To discourage the recruits from having sex, the film showed what kind of mutilated forms the men’s genitals could end up in if they caught any STDs. When he did return to commercial film-making, it was with a war film, They Were Expendable (1945). It’s telling that Ford chose to dramatise the story of America’s single biggest defeat during the war. There’s no glorious success at the end; America lost the Philippines to the Japanese. Instead, the film chronicles the heroic last stand, men fighting on even once defeat was inevitable. That’s glory enough for…show more content…
Visually striking, but drowning in symbolism, the film proves that Ford was at his best when working within commercial limitations. Aside from the Cavalry trilogy, the other two Westerns from this period were 3 Godfathers (1948) and Wagon Master (1950). The first was a remake of an early silent film Ford had made – Marked Men (1919) – and returns to his old notion of bad men doing good things. In Wagon Master (1950), we see a society built in miniature. For the group of Mormons to get to where they need to go to, they need the help of a couple of drifting horse traders. Marrying the horse traders’ practical skills together with the will, faith and community of the Mormons, Ford allows a glimpse of how he sees society as being constructed. The streetwise misfits are as vital as the collective strength of the wider
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