So, we went to another bar around the corner where the rules were more lackadaisical.
Yesterday, I managed to fit in another nominee from the 1940 Best Picture race...
The Grapes of Wrath
(based on the novel by John Steinbeck)
Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Charley Grapewin
2 wins, for Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Darwell)
Paroled after four years in prison, Tom Joad (Fonda) returns to his family's Oklahoma farm only to discover they are being driven out by greedy landowners. Such is life during the Great Depression. In search of work, the Joads load up their poor excuse for a vehicle and head for California, an area that they have heard is in dire need of fruit-pickers. The journey along Route 66 is far from smooth sailing and life in California is no picnic either. The family hops from town to town trying to make ends meet, fighting the working class fight.
A classic American film based on a classic American novel, The Grapes of Wrath is best described as solid. Solid story. Solid performances. Solid direction. The narrative is eventfully robust, teeming with activity at every turn, yet despite the action's varying nature, the picture still retains a strong sense of unity. One might even call it solid.
All this solidness does have its downfall, however, since it is partly achieved through highly stylised dialogue. It makes for some clean and delicate moments, but it also feels a tad methodical. Nonetheless, the Joads' action-filled journey kept me involved, outweighing the saccharine taste of the dialogue.
Henry Fonda in a comfortable newsboy cap (pictured) leads the cast with a strong portrayal of a determined man, chalking up his first Oscar nomination. It was co-star Jane Darwell, however, who won a Supporting Actress award for her affecting turn as the Joad matriarch. For pure entertainment value, it's hard to go past Charley Grapewin's antics as Grandpa Joad.