BBC North and South 1975 Adaptation

northandsouthI just finished watching the 1975 adaptation of North and South.  I really enjoyed it and I am so glad that I purchased it.  It is important to keep in mind that this version was made twenty-nine years before the 2004 Adaptation.   I was a little tickled knowing that Richard Armitage was only four years old when this version was made….HA!

north1I really loved Patrick Stewart as John Thornton and I think he did a really good job.  Stewart was thirty-five when he worked on North and South.  I don’t think this photo of Stewart does him justice as Thornton.  He actually is quite handsome in the film and his voice is very deep and sensual.  At least to me it is sensual.  It is very deep for SURE.  Stewart delivers his lines with more rapid fire than Richard Armitage did.  Both portrayals of Thornton are fabulous in their own right.  I LOVED it when Thornton went down on bended knee and told Margaret that he loves her and then looks at her intently….swoon.  This Thornton says a precious line that is in the book that I LOVE.  He says it while  he is carrying Margaret after they both faced the strikers.  Of course Margaret has passed out and doesn’t hear it.  If you read the book, you will know what line I am talking about.  If your name is Trudy Brasure you should know what line I am referring to.     In this version Thornton says this line with such love in his eyes while holding the only woman he will ever love.  It saddens me that this line was omitted from the 2004 version.

north8Rosalind Shanks, of course, plays Margaret Hale and I liked her a lot in the role.  Rosalind looks older than nineteen, but that could have been the makeup.  I was trying to find out how old Miss Shanks actually was at the time, but there is literally no information about her except that she is a British actress.  This version of Margaret is closer to the book.   Margaret Hale is an independent thinker, but she is still a Victorian woman and a Southern one at that.  Rosalind displays the haughtiness that Margaret of the book has.  Her hair is darker which is more like Margaret of the book as well.  This Margaret is also better dressed than the 2004  version of her.  Her clothes look more stylish and tailored.

 

north9The above photo is Margaret and John in front of his home facing the strikers.  In this version Thornton plays it very cool as the strikers are trying to break down the gate.  I LOVED it!  He knows the situation is urgent, but he plays it cool never the less.  Thornton goes to open the front door to his house, but before he goes inside he turns around and sees the strikers break the gate and enter the premises.  Thornton remains standing there, giving them a stare that is priceless and then he calmly goes inside and shuts the door.  I had to stop the video and replay it.

 

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Hannah Thornton

I did not care so much for this version of Mrs. Thornton.  She had the required meanness but at the same time she looked too physically fragile.

 

Mr. and Mrs Hale

Mr. and Mrs Hale

I liked this Mr. Hale, but Mrs. Hale was not as sweet as the 2004 version.

 

Fannie Thornton

Fannie Thornton

Fannie in this version was simply HORRID.  I did not like her at all.

 

Mr. Higgins

Mr. Higgins, Bessy and Margaret

 

Mr. Hale and Thornton (teacher and student)

Mr. Hale and Thornton (teacher and student)

 

It was a treat seeing Tim Pigot-Smith playing Margaret’s brother.  He looks the same only thirty years younger.  I could not find any photos of him in this production.  I never learned how to do screen caps.  Maybe someone else who knows how will do it.

 

This is the boxed version that I received in the mail.

This is the boxed version that I received in the mail.

 

This version is not filled with “beautiful” people like the 2004 version is.  Many of the actors and actresses are what would be considered “homely” when you compare it to period dramas that were made years later.    I am not going to tell you the ending, but I did like it.

All in all I really enjoyed watching this version of North and South.  I am glad that it is now in my video library collection to watch anytime I please.

Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart

 

Rosalind Shanks

Rosalind Shanks

Photo of Rosalind Shanks Courtesy of Victor Pemberton.

 

The Scarlet Pimpernel 1934

Scarlet-Pimpernel-PosterIt has been a while since I watched any period dramas.  This is my first one for the month of May and my be the only one for this month’s period drama challenge.

I streamed The Scarlet Pimpernel of Amazon Prime early this morning.  A lot of times when I wake up really early, like around 4 or 5am I like to watch a movie before getting out of bed.  I actually have the DVD to this movie.  I paid a dollar for it at The Dollar Store.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is based on the classic novel of the same name written by Baroness Orczy.  The movie was released on December 23, 1934 in the UK and a month later in the USA.  The Scarlet Pimpernel stars Leslie Howard as Sir Percy Blakeney/The Scarlet Pimpernel , Merle Oberon as  Lady Blakeney, née Marguerite St. Just,  and Raymond Massey as Citizen Chauvelin .

I thoroughly enjoyed The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Leslie Howard is so dashing and handsome as Sir Percy.

Leslie Howard

Leslie Howard

Merle Oberon is totally beautiful and enchanting as Percy’s wife Marguerite.

Merle Oberon

Merle Oberon

Raymond Massey is perfect as the mean Citizen Chauvelin.

Raymond Massey

Raymond Massey

I loved all the casting in this movie.

The Scarlet Pimpernel takes place during in Reign of Terror of the French revolution.  The year is 1792.  Sir Percy Blakeney is an English Baronet married to a French woman.  Percy is endlessly in love with his wife, but the marriage became troubled after Marguerite admits to being responsible for sending innocent people to the guillotine.    Even though Percy loves his wife, he no longer trusts her.

scarlet-pimpernelIt is established near the beginning of the movie that Percy is also the infamous Scarlet Pimpernel.  Marguerite has no idea that it is her husband who has been rescuing English aristocrats from execution.

In order to keep suspicion away from himself as the Scarlet Pimpernel, Percy starts behaving like a silly fop.  A fop is a man who acts very silly and is preoccupied with his appearance.  Marguerite is very disappointed in her husband and she thinks the Percy no longer loves her.

scarlet pimpernel howard massey The French are frustrated with the Scarlet Pimpernel and desperately want him caught, but first they have to find out his true identity.  Citizen Chauvelin takes advantage of Marguerite and blackmails her into helping him uncover who the Scarlet Pimpernel is so that he can have him arrested and put to death.

tspimpernel120Citizen Chauvelin sets a trap for Percy, but…

raymond massey the scarlet pimpernelFate has other plans….

121373_originalI loved the ending and you will too.

leslie-howard-and-merle-oberon-the-scarlet-pimpernel-1348522356_b

leslie-howard-and-merle-oberon-the-scarlet-pimpernel-1934The costumes in this movie are extraordinary.  The men all look very flamboyant in their clothes and I could not help staring at the very high collars on the men’s jackets.

Charles Laughton

Charles Laughton

The producer, Alexander Korda’s first choice to play Sir Percy was Charles Laughton, but fans of the book vehemently objected because he did not physically fit the character’s description.  Leslie Howard was then brought in to play Percy and I would say that was a very good decision.  I do like Charles Laughton, but he is not Percy Blackeney in my opinion either.  There have been other adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel, but this is the only one that I have seen so far.

scarlet-pimpernel-4Great classic movie!

 

Old-Fashioned Charm

Sis Hopkins

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Another little remembered film that I streamed yesterday on Netflix is Sis Hopkins.  The movie is directed by Joseph Stanley and was released on April 12, 1941.  One of the main characters is Sis Hopkins played by Judy Canova, who is the mother of actress Diana Canova.  Sis Hopkins also stars Susan Hayward as Carol Hopkins, Bob Crosby as Jeff Farnsworth, Charles Butterworth as Horace Hopkins, Jerry Colonna as Professor and Katharine Alexander as Clara Hopkins.

sis-hopkinsHorace Hopkins is one half of twins.  Horace is wealthy, but his twin brother was not and raised his daughter Sis in the rural countryside.  Horace is a decent man who is married and has one daughter named Carol.   Sis becomes homeless when her small hovel in the country burns down.  Horace is not about to leave his niece there to live in the barn, so he happily takes Sis home with him.  Sis is adorable and lovable in her country bumpkin innocence.   Horace is very proud of her and loves her.

Katharine Alexander as Clara Copkins

Katharine Alexander as Clara Hopkins

Horace’s wife Carol and daughter however are appalled and embarrassed about Sis.  When Sis arrives at Horace’s mansion she receives a very cool reception from Clara, Carol and the butler.  Even though Sis is a very nice young lady, Clara and Carol feel that she does not belong in their home and circle of friends.  In other words, Clara and Carol are both major snobs.  Horace is very down to earth and even though he was able to attain status and wealth he is very grounded.  Horace adores his niece and wants to help her make a better life for herself.

Susan Hayward as Carol Hopkins

Susan Hayward as Carol Hopkins

 

Bob Crosby plays Jeff Farnsworth

Bob Crosby plays Jeff Farnsworth

Susan is in a relationship with handsome musician Jeff Farnsworth.   I like Jeff a lot because not only is he talented, but he is also very grounded as well.  When Jeff meets Sis he is very hospitable towards her and recognizes her talents.

After Sis arrives to live with Horace and his family, Carol leaves for Berkeley College.  Horace wants Sis to get a good education too, so after pulling some strings Sis is also enrolled at Berkeley and takes the train to the college.

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Professor and Sis Hopkins

When Horace and Sis arrive at the train station he meets up with a professor that he knows and asks him to look out for Sis on the train and while she is at school.

8278717043_e9fd4d891d_bThe professor is a really strange and off-beat character.  I wouldn’t ask him to watch over anyone that I know.  However, the professor does seem to have some sense of decency and looks after Sis.

Susan HaywardClara is jealous of her cousin Sis.  Despite the fact that Sis is quite simple and not as learned in the social graces, she is very well liked by everyone at school.  Sis naturally makes everyone feel at home and comfortable around her.  Carol witnesses Sis performing an audition for Jeff Farnsworth’s show.   Sis impresses everyone with her singing ability and a financial backer suggests that Sis be the star of the show.

Carol comes up with some catty and very mean-spirited things to do to Sis to remove her from Berkeley.  As a result the school Dean has to let Sis go as a student even though he likes Sis and really wants to her to stay.  As Dean of the school though, he has to uphold the rules and regulations, as well as keep the schools reputation intact.

All is well in the end, and you will have to watch the movie for yourself to see how it unfolds.  Sis Hopkins is a lovely feel-good movie that will warm your heart.  The acting is good and I loved the musical scenes.  Musicals are what is missing from Hollywood.  Judy Canova’s talent for acting and singing makes you want to search for more movies featuring her.  Sis Hopkins is a movie that you can sit down with your entire family to watch.

 

Judy Canova

Judy Canova

 

Old-Fashioned Charm

The Barkley’s of Broadway

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The Barkley’s of Broadway was originally titled “You Made Me Love You”.  Judy Garland was originally cast to co-star opposite Fred Astaire.  Judy Garland was not able to physically or emotionally take on the role and Ginger Rogers stepped in.   It would be the first time in ten years that Astaire and Rogers co-starred in a film.

The Barkley’s of Broadway was directed by Charles Walters and written by Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Sidney Sheldon.  The movie stars Fred Astaire as Josh Barkley, Ginger Rogers as Dinah Barkley, Oscar Levant as Ezra Miller, Billie Burke as Mrs. Livingston Belny and Jacques Francois as Jacques Pierre Barredout.  The Barkley’s of Broadway was released on May 4, 1949.

fred and ginger 2Josh and Dinah Barkley are a very successful husband and wife team who performs tremendous dance routines in musical comedy shows.  Generally speaking the Barkley’s get along really well and love each other.  Josh tends to be a bit critical of Dinah however, and does not really give her the credit she deserves for being a talented half of their dance team.

barkleys1After another smashing performance, Josh ruins the moment on the ride to a celebratory party by criticizing Dinah.  It is really not clear to me why Josh won’t give Dinah the full credit she deserves; especially since she is his wife and he loves her.

thebarkleysofbroadway05At the party, Josh and Dinah meets a French playwright named Jacques Pierre Barredout.  Jacques, is clearly attracted to Dinah and recognizes that she has great talent.  Josh is not impressed with the French playwright.

barclays of broadway rogers and astaireJacques who is very serious for such a young man pursues Dinah to star in one of his plays.  Jacques believes that Dinah should consider being a dramatic actress and moving away from musical comedies.  Josh is not thrilled and basically conveys to Dinah that she cannot do dramatic acting.

14Jacques manages to convince Dinah to come over to his side and star in his play.  Dinah is nervous about telling Josh so she tries to hide it for a while.  Josh finds a script that Dinah is hiding while some people from LOOK magazine are in their apartment to do a photo spread on the Barkley’s.  Dinah and Josh get into an argument and Dinah walks out on Josh.

Levant_BarkleysOfBroadwayThe Barkley’s dear friend and pianist Ezra Miller knows how much Josh and Dinah truly love and care for one another, so he plots to get the couple back together again.

20 Ezra Miller will go to any lengths to make Josh and Dinah reconcile and some of his tactics are very funny.  Josh is clearly lonely without Dinah.  In the meantime Dinah is in rehearsals with Jacques, but things are not going well.  Jacques directing style is way too serious and he does not know how to bring out the best in Dinah.  Josh still cares very much about Dinah and doesn’t want her to fail and end up looking like a fool, so he decides to help Dinah without her knowing it.

Barkleys-of-Broadway-RogersIn the evenings after rehearsal, Josh telephones Dinah and pretends to be Jacques giving her direction and motivation about her character in the play.  Josh knows how to direct Dinah and bring out her best.  Dinah believes that she is really talking to Jacques.  The help of Jacques, who  is really Josh is a turning point during rehearsal and Dinah’s performance improves 100 percent.    Needless to say, on opening night the play is a smash hit and Dinah gets raves.

Josh is very proud and happy for Dinah, but he loves her and wants her back.  However, Josh needs to know if Dinah still loves him, so he pretends one more time to be Jacques over the phone.  During the conversation Josh asks Dinah if she still loves her husband.  Dinah thinks she is talking to Jacques until he talks into her room while she is still on the phone with Josh.

20071115-074120Dinah does still love Josh and is touched by what he did to help her become a success in Jacques play.  However, Dinah doesn’t tell Josh that she knows she is talking to him and not Jacques.  Dinah decides to have a little fun with Josh first and then tell him the truth.  I was not crazy about Dinah’s scheme because she did say some very hurtful things to Josh in the process.  I felt that was not necessary, but this is Hollywood after all.  The ending does tune out cute and predictable.

I enjoyed The Barkley’s of Broadway very much.  Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were a great team.  Fred Astaire, while not conventionally handsome, is still nice looking.  Astaire had the body of a dancer and possessed so much grace and style.  It is really a shame that we don’t see this kind of dancing anymore.  Rarely are we ever treated to musical films now.

rogers and astaire dancingGinger Rogers and Fred Astaire were ten years older in this film from the last time they teamed up together.  Both still had the stamina to handle their roles.  I was mesmerized by their dance performances in this movie.

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Barkleys-of-Broadway-Dance2

1467-3Fred Astaire worked his magic in this dance sequence.

barkleys3

fred astaire and ginger rogersThe costumes were fabulous.  I loved everything that the entire cast had on.  The male cast members looked like gentlemen and the female characters looked like very elegant ladies.

The Barkley’s of Broadway is a really delightful film.  It was not available to stream on Netflix, so I watched it via Amazon Prime.

 

Old-Fashioned Charm

Driftwood (1947)

There is very little about this 1947 movie Driftwood online.  I found it on Netflix and streamed it from there.  Driftwood stars Natalie Wood as Jenny Hollingsworth, Walter Brennan as Murph, Dean Jagger as Dr. Steve Webster, Ruth Warrick as Susan Moore and Charlotte Greenwood as Mathilda.  I cannot find the exact release date, but it was released some time in 1947 and directed by Allan Dwan.

Jenny Hollingsworth is a young girl who is orphaned after her grandfather, who is a minister, dies.  Jenny’s grandfather always told her that if anything ever happens to him to go straight to the Sheriff.  On her long walk to see the Sheriff, Jenny witnesses a plane crash.  A Collie dog is the only survivor of the crash and Jenny names him Hollingsworth.

Along comes Dr. Steve Webster in his car and he asks Jenny who she is and what she is doing all by herself out there.  Jenny tells Dr. Webster that her grandfather died and that she is on her way to see the Sheriff.  Dr. Webster gives Jenny and the dog a lift the rest of the way.  The Sheriff asks Dr. Webster if he can keep Jenny until he can confirm that Jenny’s grandfather is dead.  Dr. Webster reluctantly takes Jenny and the dog home but he is good-natured about it.  Jenny is found sleeping on the sofa by Dr. Webster’s father, Murph the next morning.

Jenny Hollingsworth, the Collie and Murph
Jenny and her grandfather did not have much in the way of possessions.  They were actually pretty darned poor and the children in Dr. Webster’s neighborhood tease Jenny about her clothes, so the doctor takes Jenny to the local store and buys her some clothes.
 Ruth Warrick
 Dean Jagger
 Walter Brennan
Dr. Webster’s girlfriend is played by Ruth Warrick.  Yes, the same Ruth Warrick of All My Children soap opera fame.   Susan loves Dr. Webster and has been waiting for him to marry her.   Dr. Webster doesn’t feel that he can offer Susan much.  Even though he is a doctor, the people don’t really have any money to pay him for medical services, but Dr, Webster continues to always be there for them.  The doctor wants to get a hospital built for the town, but the mayor will not approve the funds for it.
At first Susan is not really warmed up to Jenny and the dog.  Jenny is not exactly thrilled with Susan at first either.
Dr. Webster encourages the towns people to be vaccinated against spotted fever.  The residents are really skeptical and most people turn down the vaccination at first until one of the neighbor’s children comes down with spotted fever and dies.  Dr. Webster absent-mindedly forgets to vaccinate Jenny, and she comes down with spotted fever.
Dr. Webster, Murph and the entire town wants to help Dr. Webster get what he needs to help Jenny and everyone else who gets sick  with the fever.  Dr. Webster learns that the dog Hollingsworth is key to getting the vaccine that he needs to save Jenny’s life.
Susan proves to be a very worthy helpmate to Steve.  Susan never leaves Dr. Websters side and helps him to vaccinate the townspeople.   I really came to like Susan a lot and that of her sister Mathilda.
driftwood
Despite the depressing subject matter Driftwood is a good movie.  It certainly held my attention.  Natalie Wood was amazing as a child actor.  All of the acting in Driftwood was very good.
Old-Fashioned Charm

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name written by John Steinbeck.  I never read the book, but I intend to some time soon.  From what I read the movie follows the first half of the book pretty closely, but the second half does not.

The Grapes of Wrath stars Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, Jane Darwell as Ma Joad, John Carradine as Jim Casey, Russell Simpson as Pa Joad, Dorris Bowdin as Rose of Sharon “Rosasharn” Rivers, Charley Grapewin as Grandpa William James Joad, Zeffie Tilbury as Grandma Joad, and Frank Darien as Uncle John Joad.

The movie was directed by John Ford and released on January 14, 1940.  The time period is the great depression.  I first saw this movie many years ago while in college.  I was a film student and one day the professor had us watch the entire movie in class.  The course I took was on film critique.  We watched a number of films throughout the semester and discussed them afterwards.  Many people would say that The Grapes of Wrath is worth watching just for Henry Fonda;s performance.  I do agree that Mr. Fonda gave a stellar performance, but I say that the movie is worth seeing for the performances of the entire cast.  I don’t want to take anything away from them by singling out Henry Fonda.  The entire cast was amazing.

In 1989 the Library of Congress choose The Grapes of Wrath as one of the first 25 films to be preserved in the National Film Registry because of its historical significance.  The movie is indeed significant in the fabric of American history.  In the 1930’s severe dust bowl storms caused tremendous damage to American and Canadian farmland.  As a result farmers could not pay their loans and the banks foreclosed on the land and homes.  Many families headed for California because it was believed to be the promised land.  However, the nation was in a great depression.  The families who traveled across the nation from the Midwest were in for a rude awakening.  They were unskilled laborers who were taken terrible advantage of by those who did have money and doing well.  Many could not find work and those who did were paid extremely low wages.  The people were made to live like pigs and there was starvation throughout.  It is a very sad period in American history and another example of man’s inhumanity to man.  In my opinion very little has changed.  Big corporations continue to suck people dry.  The Federal Reserve Act which is the biggest scam and Ponzi scheme ever is still in full force decades later.  The rich get richer and do not want the mass of the people to prosper as well.

Tom Joad has just been released from prison where he spent 4 years after killing a man in self-defense.  There is no transportation so Tom is walking home through the barren and dry lands that were once fertile.  Tom asks a trucker if he can give him a lift.  In the scenes with the trucker you immediately get a glimpse of Tom’s personality.  Tom is a good man, but he is prone to having a quick temper which gets him into trouble, and you can sense that his quick temper is going to get him into more trouble down the road.

Tom Joad also annoyed me during this scene because while the truck driver was being nosy he was also still being kind enough to give Tom a ride.  How about a little gratitude and thanks.  You don’t bite off the hand that is feeding you as the saying goes.  Maybe I just need to read the book in order to understand Tom Joad better.

Tom rides as far as he can with the truck driver.  When he gets off the truck Tom continues walking towards his family farm and on the way he runs into former pastor Jim Casey.  Jim  is no longer a preacher because he lost his faith and is no longer sure what to believe in.  Casey joins Tom on his walk to his family home.  Tom finds his family home empty and deserted.  A former neighbor and farmer has been hiding out in Tom’s family home and that is how Tom learns what has been going on while he was in prison.

 Tom Joad is so moved seeing his mother after so many years.

Tom’s mother, played brilliantly by Jane Darwell, is so happy and relieved to see her son after so many years.  No one in the family knew that Tom was paroled and on his way home.  Ma Joad was getting ready to leave for California with the rest of the family and feared she would never see or hear from her son again.

Tom arrived just in the knick of time because the Joads are heading out for California at dawn the next day.  The bank is coming to foreclosure on the farm of Tom’s Uncle John.  The family was able to raise $200. by selling some of their belongings.  Out of the $200. $75. was spent to buy an old Jalopy for the family to drive to California in.

 Ma Joad in her last moments in Uncle John’s home and the state of Oklahoma.

The Joads are all packed and ready to leave.  The family asks if Jim Casey would like to join them and he goes with the Joads to California.

California here they come.

The journey to California is filled with many ups and downs.   Before they are out of the state of Oklahoma Grandpa Joad dies and the family stops to grieve and bury him.  The money that the family was able to raise has to stretch for gas and food for the entire trip west.  There is a very touching scene when Grandpa stops to buy a loaf of bread and can only spend 10 cents.  The family has to also stop to go through inspections as they enter into each state.

Finally, after many trials the Joads cross the bridge into California.  It is amazing how that old truck carried them all the way through the entire journey and beyond.
The Joads admire the green fertile landscape.  Grandma Joad died way back just before the last state inspection stop and will be buried in California.
The Joads are in for a rude awakening.  Thousands of people traveled across the USA believing there is an abundance of work in California, but the reality is that there are not nearly enough jobs for all the people.  The bigger farms that are making money take advantage of the Midwesterners.  The pay is very little for a lot of work.  The big farmers get away with it because so many people are vying for the same jobs.  The workers also known as “Okies” are despised and look down upon by even the authority figures.  Law enforcement continually sets them up to be arrested and the camps are burned down.  Men overlooking the big farms are extremely rude to them and treat them like pigs.  The people are huddled into cramped living conditions of squalor. 

Trouble begins again for Tom Joad shortly after the family arrive at the first camp.   Tom defends a man who is being wrongly accused and then attacked by authority figures.

After a days work on a peach farm Tom is injured after defending Jim Casey that night.  Tom wanted to go for a walk but the workers are not allowed to go for walks, so Tom sneaked out and ran into Jim Casey.  I wanted to yell for Tom to just follow orders and go back into the shanty because I knew that Tom was headed for trouble if he sneaked out.

Ma Joad nurses her son, but the Joads now have to leave the peach farm job because the authorities are looking for a man they do not yet know is Tom Joads.  Tom killed the man who killed Jim Casey.  Tom’s injuries from that scuffle left a huge telltale scar on his face.

The Joads make it of camp and safely and drive as far as they can.  They safely make it to another camp run by the United Stated Department of Agriculture.  The man who runs it is very nice and decent.  The camp is clean and the families living there has indoor bathrooms.  The Joad children never saw indoor plumbing before and marvel at the bathroom sink, shower and toilet facilities.

Tom Joad’s luck runs out and one he overhears the authorities checking license plate numbers.  Tom knows that he must leave his family and packs up to go out on his own.  Before he leaves Tom and his mother have a really touching good bye talk.  Ma Joad doesn’t want Tom to go and says that she can hide him from the authorites, but Tom knows that will not do.  If Ma Joad is caught harboring a fugitive then she will do jail time as well.  I was wondering why Tom did not think of his mither every time he blew off the handle.  I liked the character, but in many ways I saw Tom Joad as his own worst enemy.  The family was suffering enough as it is without him constantly getting into trouble with the law.  The law turned out to be crooked, but Tom’s quick temper made things worse and it solved none of their problems.  Rose of Sharon’s husband ran off and left the family way back while the family was at the first camp.  The Joads needed one another and now Tom was lost to them again and this time for good.
The Joads pack up and leave the government run camp without Tom.  Ma Joad frets over Tom and worries that he will remain safe.
At the end Ma Joad is driving the truck and it is clear that she is now the head of the family.  Ma gives Pa Joad a wonderful reply about how the big and powerful die out, but “we the people” are stronger and always survive.
Below is the last line that Ma Joad speaks before the movie concludes.
“ain’t never gonna be scared no more. I was, though. For a while it looked as though we was beat. Good and beat. Looked like we didn’t have nobody in the whole wide world but enemies. Like nobody was friendly no more. Made me feel kinda bad and scared too, like we was lost and nobody cared…. Rich fellas come up and they die, and their kids ain’t no good and they die out, but we keep on coming. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out, they can’t lick us. We’ll go on forever, Pa, cos we’re the people”.
Even though the subject matter is a depressing one, I really enjoyed watching The Grapes of Wrath again after so many  years.  The visual imagery is very powerful.  The acting performances as I already wrote is superb.  The messages are clear and this is a movie that I am sure made many people uneasy when it first came out in 1940.
Publicity Photos
 

 

 Director John Ford on the set with Henry Fonda.
   John Ford

Old-Fashioned Charm