Fruits of Their Labor

The Grapes of Wrath is more than just another Great Depression-era sob story about another family down on its luck — the 1940 film is a painful portrayal of a society in ruins. Director John Ford and novelist/co-screenwriter John Steinbeck show us how, after the banks collapse, every institution that could help one impoverished Okie family — government, religion, even the family itself — starts to crumble. While the Hays Code prevented the film from being as dark as the book, it’s still plenty pessimistic. The Joads’ rickety truck on its way to California is like a flimsy raft on a raging river, its passengers unlikely to arrive at their destination alive.
Fri., Jan. 12, 7 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 14, 7 p.m., 2007

 
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