Our Daily Bread
Time Out says'Inspired by the Headlines of Today', or at least, the headlines of 1934, this is a fascinating time capsule from the New Deal period, and a rare instance of an 'independent' American movie of the time. An established film-maker with two significant critical hits to his name, The Crowd and The Big Parade, King Vidor paid for this picture out of his own pocket when the studios told him it was 'too down to earth'. It's the story of a young couple with no money to their name who are given an abandoned farm by a relative. John (Keene) knows nothing about farming, but hits upon the idea of establishing a cooperative. He's inundated with volunteers. The politics are actually pretty confused ('We've got a big job here, we're gonna need a big boss!' they decide), and as drama it's pretty shaky, but the powerful illustration of collective action in the climactic ditch digging sequence holds up. The Connoisseur Academy release under review comes with a brief introduction by Vidor himself (circa 1983) and propaganda newsreels sponsored by Irving Thalberg.