John Ford is one of the greatest directors of the 20th century. His professional capacity is extraordinary.
Even though he is more familiar with his western films (“La Diligencia” 1939; “Centauros del Desierto” 1954; “Quien mató a Liberty Balance” 1961) there are dramas that do not show us unsatisfied such as “El Delator” (1935) and “Qué verde era mi Valle” (1941) among others.
But there is a work that portrays the poverty of North American society in the decade of the 30’s (based on a literary work): “Las Uvas de la Ira” by writer John Steinbeck.
The setting is centered on the context of the Great Depression that lived in the United States from the time of the crash of 1929, when the great crisis on the collapse of the Stock Exchanges in the city of New York erupted.
From this moment onwards, unemployment, despair, the hambruna and the destitute are the protagonists in this total catastrophe.
Henry Fonda impersonates Tom Joad who gets his parole and returns home (Oklahoma) and meets up with his childhood friend and former preacher Jim Casy (John Carradine).
This last law says that your family is in your home because the banks are adjudged from all the farms as a product of the lack of mortgage payments.
Tom meets with his family, and sees that his posessions fall, and together they decide to head west, specifically to California, where they say there is a lot of work available with high salaries.
They are seduced by the news and entrepreneurship and travel there together with their childhood friend. But it turns out that the news expected in the son as they had been planned.
When finally arriving at its destination, it is found that there is an excess of manpower; for that reason the salaries are low, with the absence of acceptable labor rights.
Large business corporations take advantage of the situation because they are harmed by small producers and are displaced by a market with inequity and safety.
In response to all this abuse, they try to organize themselves in a union and call for a demonstration, ending in a violent manner where Tom’s friend is killed, and the latter ends up signing his aggressor into a fugitive.
In a memorable scene at the end of the film, where Tom Joad says goodbye to his mother and reads: You will be everywhere, everywhere you want to look, where there is a possibility that the children will command, there you will be, where there is a man who lives there, and he will be in the children’s laugh when he sits there and the scene is prepared, and when the men command the land who work and live in the houses that rise, there too.”
With this phrase the personaje stands as an abandoned of the most dispossessed to be a channel of expression for this oppressed class.
“Las Uvas de la Ira” has memorable performances, mostly by Henry Fonda and John Carradine, where they demonstrate their histrionic abilities; but we cannot forget the actress Jane Darwell who plays the role of the mother of Tom Joad for whom she was awarded the Oscar for Best Actress of Reparto.
Photography is by the genius Gregg Toland, who gained a singular notoriety when the next year, he made the cinematography of the film “Citizen Kane” and a film stage by director John Ford who is an anthology artist.
“Las Uvas de la Ira” is a masterpiece from the point of view of literature and cinema.
• The finals between Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) and Ma Joad (Jane Darwell) are touching, because they show the game and the solitude of the working class, a constant in their lives and parts of a whole, despite their individualism.
• Gregg Toland is known for his numerous tricks with the help of Orson Welles in Ciudadano Kane (1941); sin embargo, ya probó certain geniuses in this belt, from the mano of John Ford. It used a lot of shadow and darkness as forms of expression of this feeling depressed by the hardships experienced.
• Was nominated for six Oscar awards, among them best film. The director John Ford and the best actress of the part, Jane Darwell won in their respective categories.
• In 1989 it was considered “cultural, historical and aesthetically significant” by the US Congress Library and selected for its preservation in the National Film Registry.
+ Technical sheet:
Rating: 5/5 (Excellent)
Original name: The Grapes of Wrath
Duration: 129 minutes
From director John Ford: One of the outstanding filmmakers of Hollywood cinema. Winner of the Oscar as Best Director on four occasions.