Silent era[ edit ] During his first decade as a director Ford worked on dozens of features including many westerns but only ten of the more than sixty silent films he made between and still survive in their entirety. According to Ford's own story, he was given the job by Universal boss Carl Laemmle who supposedly said, "Give Jack Ford the job—he yells good". The Tornado was quickly followed by a string of two-reeler and three-reeler "quickies"— The Trail of HateThe ScrapperThe Soul Herder and Cheyenne's Pal ; these were made over the space of a few months and each typically shot in just two or three days; all are now presumed lost. The Soul Herder is also notable as the beginning of Ford's four-year, film association with veteran writer-actor Harry Carey who with Ford's brother Francis was a strong early influence on the young director, as well as being one of the major influences on the screen persona of Ford's protege John Wayne.
Plot[ edit ] The narrative begins just after Tom Joad is paroled from McAlester prisonwhere he had been imprisoned after being convicted of homicide.
On his return to his home near Sallisaw, OklahomaTom meets former preacher Jim Casy, whom he remembers from his childhood, and the two travel together. Graves tells them that the banks have evicted all the farmers, but he refuses to leave the area. Tom finds his family loading their remaining possessions into a Hudson Motor Car Company sedan converted to a truck; with their crops destroyed by the Dust Bowlthe family has defaulted on their bank loans, and their farm has been repossessed.
Consequently, the Joads see no option but to seek work in California, described in handbills as fruitful and offering high pay. The Joads put everything they have into making the journey. Although leaving Oklahoma would violate his parole, Tom decides it is worth the risk, and invites Casy to join him and his family.
Traveling west on Route 66the Joad family find the road crowded with other migrants. In makeshift camps, they hear many stories from others, some returning from California, and the group worries about lessening prospects.
The family dwindles as well: Grandpa dies along the road, and they bury him in a field; Grandma dies close to the California state line; and both Noah the eldest Joad son and Connie Rivers the husband of the pregnant Joad daughter, Rose of Sharon leave the family.
Led by Ma, the remaining members realize they can only continue, as nothing is left for them in Oklahoma. Reaching California, they find the state oversupplied with labor ; wages are low, and workers are exploited to the point of starvation.
The big corporate farmers are in collusion and smaller farmers suffer from collapsing prices. Weedpatch Campone of the clean, utility-supplied camps operated by the Resettlement Administrationa New Deal agency, offers better conditions but does not have enough resources to care for all the needy families.
Nonetheless, as a Federal facility, the camp protects the migrants from harassment by California deputies. The remaining Joads work as strikebreakers in a peach orchard, where Casy is involved in a strike that eventually turns violent.
The Joads later leave the orchard for a cotton farm, where Tom is at risk of being arrested for the homicide. Tom bids his mother farewell and promises to work for the oppressed. Ma Joad remains steadfast and forces the family through the bereavement.
In the final chapter of the book, the family takes shelter from the flood in an old barn. Inside they find a young boy and his father, who is dying of starvation. Rose of Sharon takes pity on the man and offers him her breast milk to save him from starvation.
Characters[ edit ] Tom Joad: Later on, Tom takes leadership of the family even though he is young. Practical and warm-spirited, she tries to hold the family together. Her given name is never learned; it is suggested that her maiden name was Hazlett. Patriarch, also named Tom, age Hardworking sharecropper and family man.
Pa becomes a broken man upon losing his livelihood and means of supporting his family, forcing Ma to assume leadership. He felt guilty about the death of his young wife years before, and has been prone to binges involving alcohol and prostitutes, but is generous with his goods.
A former preacher who lost his faith.Critics Consensus: A potent drama that is as socially important today as when it was made, The Grapes of Wrath is affecting, moving, and deservedly considered an American classic. In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck became the first writer to refer to Route 66 – the two-lane, 2,mile-road that connects Chicago to Los Angeles – as the "Mother Road".
In doing so, he. If you are a teacher searching for educational material, please visit PBS LearningMedia for a wide range of free digital resources spanning preschool through 12th grade. The Classic Film and TV Cafe is a blog devoted to classic movies and television series, ranging from the silent film era to the s.
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With Charley Grapewin, Gene Tierney, Marjorie Rambeau, William Tracy. Hillbilly family life in rural Georgia. The Classic Film and TV Cafe is a blog devoted to classic movies and television series, ranging from the silent film era to the s.
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