The Grapes of Wrath was released in March 1940, not long before (both sets of) my grandparents got married. Perhaps they saw it while on a date on some Saturday night back then.I think it would've especially drawn the sympathy of my father's parents (who married in Feb. '41), as they were also involved in farming at the time, in Iowa, not far from the Dust Bowl.
I watched this movie in 2014 for the first time.
Grapes of Wrath is based on a book. I read it in high school. Most of it, anyway. I gave a poorly-thought-out and poorly-delivered presentation on the themes of the movie, to the disappointment of our 11th grade English teacher, Mr. Mo***. Oh, I admired that man. He may have been more of an influence on my thinking than I realize. I'd like another shot at that presentation. I can do better now.
The movie has a simple plot: Expelled by the bank from their long-held farm in Oklahoma, westward the Joad family goes, to California. They want work. Ill fortune awaits. The local "company thugs" mistreat them, exploit them, lie, cheat, and treat them cruelly. The family begins to disintegrate. Tom Joad reacts by becoming a kind of political radical outlaw (this is toned down in the movie) and the ending is uncertain.
Here are some screenshots I took:
Fall 2000. Lunchtime. School cafeteria. Within sight were probably a few trend-followers wearing very, very baggy pants (a fashion that is, thank God, long gone). A few of us had finished eating and were wandering around out of doors, just outside the cafeteria. J.A., my Jewish friend, was there. I brought up the latest Israeli vs. Palestinian fighting then occurring. He said a few things which I'm sure he was repeating from his Jewish School teachers or parents. How to solve the problem once-and-for-all. Something about a "two-state solution" which I didn't understand at the time.
(J.A. also remarked, either on this occasion or another, something about the "real problem" being the Ultra-Orthodox Jews, a comment I also didn't understand at all, so simply accepted, on his authority as a Jew, without comment.)
Dave Barry once wrote:
Wall Street [is] always making up preposterous explanations as to why stock prices rise and fall, such as “tension in the Middle East,” when of course there is always tension in the Middle East. When we finally have a nuclear war and there is no life left on Earth except cockroaches, the cockroaches in the Middle East will be tense.
And in the same spirit, a Dilbert comic strip from July 1989:
This was twenty five years ago. Two of the three "reusable headlines" hold up well (certainly "Unrest in the Mideast"). "Home prices rise" was true most of the time. Here is an Economist on U.S. home prices 1987-2013:
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