In Havana, Cuba in the late 1950s, a wealthy family, one of whose sons is a prominent night-club owner, is caught in the violent transition from the oppressive regime of Batista to the ... See full summary »
A series of overlapping stories about four suburban families dealing with different maladies. Esther Gold's life is consumed by caring for her comatose son; Jim Train is sent into a ... See full summary »
Mary Kay Place
In 1930s New York Orson Welles tries to stage a musical on a steel strike under the Federal Theater Program despite pressure from an establishment fearful of industrial unrest and red activity. Meanwhile Nelson Rockefeller gets the foyer of his company headquarters decorated and an Italian countess sells paintings for Mussolini.Written by
This film is based on actual events, though it takes liberties with the details. Marc Blitzstein's 1937 anti-capitalist operetta 'The Cradle Will Rock', about the effort to unionize steelworkers, was originally produced as part of the Federal Theatre Project. The Federal Theatre Project (1935-1939), in turn, was part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which was created in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to employ people during the Great Depression. Directed by Orson Welles and produced by John Houseman, Cradle was shut down right before it was due to open because of "budget cuts" at the FTP. Everyone involved believed the government deliberately cut funding because the play's message offended its more conservative contingent; Actor's Equity prohibited its members from taking part, apparently oblivious to the fact that Cradle was a pro-union piece and Actor's Equity was - and is - a union. Welles, Housman and Blitzstein spontaneously rented another theater and planned to put on Cradle with Blitzstein himself singing/reading the piece; the show sold out and various actors defied Equity and performed their parts from the seats they'd bought. The secondary plot which involved Mexican painter Diego Rivera butting heads with Nelson Rockefeller when the mural the latter commissioned for a Rockefeller Center lobby on the high-minded subject of "human intelligence in control of the forces of nature" included a portrait of Lenin, is also based on fact, though it happened in 1933. The incident is also dramatized in the 2002 film Frida (2002). Tim Robbins included it because it tied into the theme of artistic integrity vs. economic practicality. See more »
At the beginning of Hallie Flanagan's Senate testimony, the court stenograper's machines are not operating although they are pressing the keys. Later in the scene, the machines are working properly. See more »
A Brilliant Depiction of the Universal Struggle of Artists
Tim Robbins creates a brilliant social commentary in the same in-your-face style as "Bob Roberts". I adore the statements Robbins makes about social politics, as well as the problems with the idea of "art for art's sake". He lyrically tells the story of the struggle of performing and visual artists around the Depression era, choosing between their art and their livelihood--a struggle that is universal for artists through the expanse of time. The concept of this film is a breakthrough for the big screen, since Hollywood seems to be the capital of "selling out". The comments on artistic integrity are strong and literally moving in the acting of an amazing cast, as well as the way in which the story is edited to David Robbins' beautiful score. The entire film is simply poetic. This film is truly a masterpiece to any artist, or to anyone who knows what it like to compromise your values to survive.
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