Tom Joad returns to his home after a jail sentence to find his family kicked off their farm due to foreclosure. He catches up with them on his uncle's farm and joins them the next day as they head for California and a new life - Hopefully. Written by
Colin Tinto <email@example.com>
The joke that the truck driver at the diner is telling gets cut off (told to "cheese it") and is never finished. Steinbeck has the full version in the book:
Little kid comes in late ta school. Teacher says, "Why ya late?" Kid says, "Had a take a heifer down-get 'er bred." Teacher says, "Couldn't your ol' man do it?" Kid says, "Sure he could, but not as good as the bull." See more »
Tom Joad's semi-retarded brother, Noah, vanishes after the swimming-in-the-river sequence. In the book, Noah believes he's a burden on the family and runs away. In the film, no explanation is given for his disappearance. See more »
Well, Pa, a woman can change better'n a man. A man lives sorta - well, in jerks. Baby's born or somebody dies, and that's a jerk. He gets a farm or loses it, and that's a jerk. With a woman, it's all in one flow, like a stream - little eddies and waterfalls - but the river, it goes right on. Woman looks at it thata way.
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They say that you should wait 20 or 30 years before attempting to capture an historical event on film. That is why it was remarkable that Oliver Stone was able to capture the "feel" of Viet Nam (in "Platoon") so soon (13 years) after America's withdrawal. Usually, an honest perspective takes more time to develop.
But, when you consider that John Steinbeck and John Ford needed less than ten years to bring the 1932 "dust bowl" to life, you really have to admire their magnificent achievement.
Of course, in 1940, Ford could not film much of the graphic squalor described in the novel. For example, the film cannot show a starving hobo suckling at the breast of a young Rose of Sharon, who has milk to spare following the death of her baby. But, far from degradation, Rose of Sharon's gesture is a reflection of the goodness that resides within her, and that quality is well illustrated in the character development seen on the screen. Tom Joad may be an ex-con, but he is a good man.
One of the commentaries (below) uses this film to rant about the exploitation in today's society. That completely misses the point. Ford, who was as conservative as anyone in Hollywood, even more conservative than John Wayne, used this movie to show that Man can triumph, despite the natural and human barriers that are put in his way.
This is ultimately a movie about hope and the human spirit.
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