Movies Made During the Depression
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Author/Creator: Darryl Francis Zanuck 1902-1979.; John Ford 1894-1973.; John Steinbeck 1902-1968.; Henry Fonda 1905-1982.; Twentieth Century-Fox Film
Notes: Summary: A story about members of a family who are forced off their land in Oklahoma in the 1930’s. It details their struggle for justice and dignity when they migrated to California. Credits: Photography, Gregg Toland; screenplay, Nunnally Johnson; music, Alfred Newman. Credits: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Charley Grapewine.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 10894)
Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
Author/Creator: Preston Sturges; Paul Jones 1901-1968.; Joel McCrea 1905-1990.; Veronica Lake; Robert Warwick 1878-1965.; Margaret Hayes 1923-1977.; Porter Hall 1888-1953.; Franklyn Pangborn 1889-1958.; Eric Blore 1887-1959.; Robert Greig 1879-1958.; Leo Shuken 1906-1976.; Paramount Pictures, inc.; Janus Films.; Criterion Collection (Firm);
Notes: Summary: A successful Hollywood director disguises himself as a bum and sets off to see America from the bottom up. In the midst of the brutality and despair, he makes a valuable discovery– that what the downtrodden need most is laughter. Credits: Director of photography, John Seitz; editor, Stuart Gilmore; music, Leo Shuken and Charles Bradshaw. Credits: Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, William Demarest, Margaret Hayes, Porter Hall, Franklin Pangborn, Eric Blore, Robert Greig, Georges Renavent, Harry Rosenthal.
Description: 1 videodisc (90 min.): sd., b&w; 4 3/4 in.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 2120)
Author/Creator: Frank Capra 1897-1991.; Robert Riskin; Clark Gable 1901-1960.; Claudette Colbert; Walter Connolly 1887-1940.; Roscoe Karns 1893-1970.; Samuel Hopkins Adams 1871-1958.; Columbia Pictures Corporation.; Columbia TriStar Home Video (Firm);
Subjects: Man-woman relationships — United States — 20th century — Drama; Feature films; Comedy films; Road films; Video recordings for the hearing impaired;
Notes: Summary: A rich young woman marries an idle playboy against her father’s will. Her father holds her captive on his yacht but she escapes and, while on her way to New York, becomes entangled with an unemployed news reporter. Credits: Photographer, Joseph Walker; editor, Gene Havlick; music, Louis Silvers. Credits: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 116)
Author/Creator: Lloyd Nosler; Joseph L Mankiewicz; Alfred Newman 1901-1970.; Robert Planck 1894-1963.; Elizabeth Hill; Addison Richards 1902-1964.; Barbara Pepper; John Qualen 1899-1987.; Tom Keene 1896-1963.; Karen Morley 1905-; King Vidor 1894-1982.; New Video Group.; Embassy Home Entertainment (Firm); Janus Films.; Viking Productions.;
Subjects: Depressions — 1929 — United States — Drama; United States — History — 1919-1933 — Drama; United States — Social conditions — Drama; Feature films;
Notes: Summary: Depression movie about a collective farm and its development as a rural community of the unemployed. The unemployed portrayed include a jobless city couple, a Swedish farmer and his family, and other victims of the industrial-financial collapse. Credits: Photography, Robert Planck; music, Alfred Newman; editor, Lloyd Nosler; dialogue, Joseph Mankiewicz.Credits: Tom Keene, Karen Morley, John Qualen, Barbara Pepper, Addison Richards.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 6494)
Author/Creator: Lewis Milestone 1895-1980.; Al Jolson d. 1950.; Madge Evans 1909-; Frank Morgan 1890-1949.; Richard Rodgers 1902-1979.; Lorenz Hart 1895-1943.; United Artists Corporation.; MGM Home Entertainment Inc.;
Notes: Summary: For Bumper, life is just a bowl of cherries. Living in New York City’s Central Park, the happy-go-lucky hobo king spends his time singing and enjoying himself without a care in the world. But when he rescues a beautiful amnesiac from a park lake, his cares suddenly increase. Not only has he fallen in love with the pretty blonde, but he has also discovered she’s the missing sweetheart of Bumper’s good buddy, the Mayor of New York. Credits: Photography, Lucien Andriot; editor, W. Duncan Mansfield; songs and musical dialogue by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart; music director, Alfred Newman. Credits: Al Jolson, Madge Evans, Frank Morgan.
Description: 1 videodisc (83 min.): sd., b&w; 4 3/4 in.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 4751)
The Making of a southern radical; March of Time; Organized migration program; Cleselia’s story
Author/Creator: H. L Mitchell (Harry Leland), 1906-; Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union.;
Notes: Contents: The Making of a southern radical. — March of time. — Organized migration program. — Cleselia’s story. Summary: A compilation of four short documentaries dealing with the plight of the American migrant farmworkers since the 1920’s and with the creation of the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union in 1934, and its history, activities and leaders. Part 1, The Making of a southern radical, is a biographical sketch of H. L. Mitchell, a co-founder of STFU. Part 2, March of Time, is a segment of that movie series made in 1936, which deals with unrest among cotton farmers in the South, particularly sharecroppers in Arkansas during the Great Depression. Part 3, Organized migration program, narrated by H. L. Mitchell, describes the STFU’s program to transfer more than 12,000 unemployed migrant workers from the south to jobs in food-packing plants along the north-east coast during World War II. Also described are STFU’s organizing efforts in Puerto Rico, Part 4, Cleselia’s story, tells the story of a 13-year-old Haitian-American girl from Belle Glade, Florida and her harsh life as a migrant farm worker in the 1980’s.
Publication Date: 1986?
Description: 1 videocassette (48 min.): sd., b&w with color sequences; 1/2 in.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (VCA 789)
The Plow that broke the Plains: a U.S. Documentary Film c1936
Author/Creator: Leo T Hurwitz; Paul Strand 1890-1976.; Paul Ivano; Ralph Steiner 1899-1986.; Thomas Chalmers; Pare Lorentz; National Audiovisual Center.; United States. Farm Security Administration.;
Notes: Summary: Traces the social and economic history of the Great Plains from the settlement of the prairies through the World War I boom to the years of depression and drought. Credits: Photography, Ralph Steiner, Paul Ivano, Paul Strand, Leo T. Hurwitz
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 7359 and DVD 9540)
The films of Pare Lorentz (DVD 22196)
The plow that broke the plains; The river
Author/Creator: Pare Lorentz; Virgil Thomson 1896-1989.; George C Stoney; Charles Fussell; Floyd King; Angel Gil-Ordóñez; Joseph Horowitz 1948-; Post-Classical Ensemble.; Naxos Digital Services.;
Notes: Contents: The Plow that Broke the Plains (27 min.) — The River (32 min.) — George Stoney on The Plow and The River (15 min.) — Stoney on the New Deal, The River, and race (6 min.) — Charles Fussell on Virgil Thomson (18 min.) — Virgil Thomson on Virgil Thomson (audio only) (8 min.) –The original ending of The Plow that Broke the Plains (4 min.) –The original beginning of The Plow that Broke the Plains (3 min.) Summary: “The plow that broke the plains” depicts the social and economic history of the Great Plains from the settlement of the prairies by cattlemen and farmers through the World War I boom to drought and depression. “The river” traces life in the Mississippi River Valley during the previous 150 years, showing the consequences of sharecropping, soil exhaustion, unchecked erosion and floods, and concludes with scenes of regional planning, TVA development and federal efforts. Credits: Writer/director, Pare Lorentz; music, Virgil Thompson. Credits: Narrator, Floyd King; soundtracks recreated by Post-Classical Ensemble, Angel Gil-Ordóñez, music director, Joseph Horowitz, artistic director.
Description: 1 videodisc (113 min.): sd., b&w with col. sequences; 4 3/4 in. + 1 booklet (7
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 9540)
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 7359)
In the depths of the Depression, two teenage boys strike out on their own in order to help their struggling parents and find life on the road tougher than expected.
Available on You-tube for $3; possibly at Bobst as Forbidden Hollywood Collection (DVD 22231), 4 disks
Documentaries about the Depression and 1930s
Author/Creator: Martha Olson; Martin Duckworth; Sandi Sissel; Stephen Lighthill; Pete Seeger 1919-; Julia Reichert; James Klein; New Day Films.;
Notes: Summary: Probes the reasons why a number of politically conscious persons were drawn to the Communist party in the period from the Great Depression until the 1950s. Explores the McCarthy hearings in detail and shows Pete Seeger singing a number of period songs. Credits: Camera, Stephen Lighthill, Sandi Sissel, Martin Duckworth; archival research, Martha Olson; sound, James Klein.
Description: 1 videocassette (100 min.): sd., col. with b&w sequences; 1/2 in.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (VCA 510)
Author/Creator: Michael Uys; Lexy Lovell; Sam Henriques; Howard Sharp; Jay Sherman-Godfrey; American History Project.; Out of the Blue Productions.; University of California (System). Extension Center for Media and Independent Learning.;
Notes: Summary: The story of tramps riding the rails during the Great Depression. Credits: Cinematography, Samuel Henriques; editor, Howard Sharp; music, Jay Sherman-Godfrey.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 20504)
A two-hour in-depth exploration into the Hollywood musicals of the 1930s.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 16053)
In the grip of the Great Depression, WPA writers searched for America and discovered the Soul of a People. This show explores one of the most controversial public assistance programs of its time and shows nothing less than the creation of America’s first ever self-portrait.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 25980)
Feature-length documentary film which tells the story of the rise and politically motivated fall of the Photo League, (1936–1951) which for fifteen years served as the center of the documentary movement in American photography at a time when the camera was held to be, in James Agee’s words, “the central instrument of our time.”
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 34073 BLU)
Author/Creator: Jonathan Towers; Craig Constantine; Jeff Martin; Peter Marks; Mario Matthew Cuomo; Towers Productions, Inc.; History Channel (Television network); A & E Home Video (Firm); New Video Group.;
Notes: Contents: v. 1. The great shake-up — v. 2. Face the music — v. 3. Striking back — v. 4. Desperate measures. Summary: Covers the stock market crash of 1929 to the recovery spurred by the coming of World War II. Credits: Cameras, Dave Frederick ..[et al.]; music, Steven Samler, Jim Gaynor, Chris Ussery. Credits: Host/narrator: Mario Cuomo.
Description: 4 videocassettes (ca. 200 min.): sd., col. with b&w sequences; 1/2 in.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 15511)
Life During the Great Depression
Subjects: Depressions — 1929 — South Dakota; South Dakota — Social Conditions;
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 26742)
America lost and found: the Depression decade
Author/Creator: Tom McDonough; Pat Hingle; Kate Hirson; John Crowley; Thomas P Johnson; Lance Bird; Direct Cinema Ltd.; WNET (Television station: New York, N.Y.). Television Laboratory.; Media Study Inc.;
Notes: Summary: This compilation of rare film footage conveys the psychological impact of the economic and social collapse which accompanied the Great Depression in the United States. The filmakers have accumulated revealing images of how America reacted to the loss of its dreams of prosperity and its social uncertainties and how these dreams were rebuilt.
Description: 1 videocassette (58 min.): sd., b&w; 1/2 in.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (VCA 697)
Author/Creator: Terry Kay Rockefeller; Brian Keane; Joe Morton; Steve Fayer 1935-; Henry Hampton 1940-1998.; PBS Video.; British Broadcasting Corporation. Television Service.; WGBH (Television station: Boston, Mass.); Blackside, Inc.;
Notes: Contents: [tape 1] A job at Ford’s — [tape 2] The road to rock bottom — [tape 3] New Deal/New York — [tape 4] We have a plan — [tape 5] Mean things happening — [tape 6] To be somebody — [tape 7] Arsenal of democracy. Summary: This 7-part series on the Great Depression uses newsreels, archival photographs and footage, Hollywood films, and eyewitness accounts to re-create the time, from the end of the Roaring Twenties to the outbreak of the second World War, when economic forces, political change, and social turmoil transformed the nation. Credits: Executive producer, Henry Hampton; series creator, Henry Hampton; series writer, Steve Fayer; senior producer, Terry Kay Rockefeller; original music, Brian Keane; other credits vary with each program. Credits: Joe Morton.
Description: 7 videocassettes (57 min. each): sd., col. with b&w sequences; 1/2 in. + 1 teacher’s guide (24 p.: ill.; 28 cm.).
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (VCA 3494)
Images of the great depression, 1930-1940 (1990)
Author/Creator: C Hietter; William Stott 1940-; Robert Hamlett Bremner 1917-; George C Stoney; Robert W Wagner; Ohio State University. Dept. of Photography and Cinema.; Ohio State University. Research Foundation.; Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.). Circulating Film Library.;
Notes: Summary: Examines the images of the Depression era in various media of the period. Includes still photographs, excerpts from feature films, government information films, documentaries and news reels. Also includes commentary by some of the individuals involved with creating the images found there. Credits: Writer, director, Robert W. Wagner; co-producer, George C. Stoney; consultant, William Stott; historian, Robert H. Bremner.
Description: 1 videocassette (ca. 111 min.): sd., b&w with col. sequences; 1/2 in.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (VCA 2625)
Artists at work: a film on the New Deal art projects (1981)
Notes: Summary: An in-depth survey of the federal programs for support of visual artists during the depression. Several artists recount experiences with WPA’s art project and other programs. Shows works of art created during the New Deal era and discusses the destruction and loss of many works of art produced then. Credits: Camera, Ted Churchill ; editors, Charles Marcus, Laurence Solomon ; sound, Paul Glicksberg. Credits: Morgan Freeman.
Description: 1 videocassette (35 min.): sd., col. with b&w sequences; 1/2 in
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (VCA 434 )
Movies Set in the Depression
Description: 1 videodisc (88 min.) : sd., col. with a b&w sequence ; 4 3/4 in. (DVD 1155)
Author/Creator: Ethan Coen; Joel Coen; George Clooney; John Turturro 1957-; Tim Blake Nelson; Charles Durning 1923-; John Goodman 1952-; Holly Hunter 1958-; Roger A. Deakins 1949-; Roderick Jaynes; Tricia Cooke 1965-; T-Bone Burnett; Mary Zophres; Dennis Gassner; Touchstone Pictures.; Universal Pictures Corporation.; Studio Canal+.; Working Title Films.; Buena Vista Home Entertainment (Firm);
Notes: Summary: Loosely based on Homer’s “Odyssey”, three escaped chain gang convicts have to travel home to try and recover buried loot from a bank heist. Along the way they meet up with some strange characters. Credits: Producer, Ethan Coen; writers, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen; director, Joel Coen; director of photography, Roger Deakins; film editors, Roderick Jaynes, Tricia Cooke; music, T. Bone Burnett; costume designer, Mary Zophres; production designer, Dennis Gassner. Credits: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, Charles Durning, John Goodman, Michael Badalucco, Holly Hunter.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 7089)
Bound for Glory (1976)
Author/Creator: Michael Haller; Robert Jones; Pembroke J. Herring 1930-; Haskell Wexler; Leonard Rosenman; Robert Getchell; Woody Guthrie 1912-1967.; Randy Quaid 1953-; Gail Strickland; Melinda Dillon 1939-; Ronny Cox; David Carradine; Harold Leventhal; Robert F Blumofe; Hal Ashby; United Artists Corporation.; MGM/UA Home Video (Firm);
Notes: Summary: Set against the backdrop of depression America, this film celebrates the life of Woody Guthrie, America’s great folk balladeer and poet. Credits: Director, Hal Ashby; producers, Robert F. Blumofe, Harold Leventhal; screenplay, Robert Getchell; director of photography, Haskell Wexler; art director, Michael Haller; music by Woody Guthrie, adapted by Leonard Rosenman; editors, Robert Jones, Pembroke J. Herring. Credits: David Carradine, Ronny Cox, Melinda Dillon, Gail Strickland, Randy Quaid, et al.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 17145)
Author/Creator: Charles Bronson 1920-2003.; James Coburn; Jill Ireland 1936-1990.; Strother Martin 1920-1980.; Columbia Pictures Industries.; Columbia TriStar Home Video (Firm)
Notes: Summary: This two-fisted action drama is about a drifter suddenly caught up in the fight game during the great depression. Chaney wins a few tough illegal fights barefisted but Speed’s carelessness with his money and indebtedness to a gang of thugs forces Chaney to fight one last match with Street, a huge monster of a man. Credits: Producer, Lawrence Gordon; director, Walter Hill; writer, Bryan Gindoff, Bruce Henstell; screenplay, Walter Hill, Bryan Gindoff, Bruce Henstell; music, Barry De Vorzon. Credits: Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Jill Ireland, Strother Martin.
Description: 1 videodisc (94 min.): sd., col.; 4 3/4 in.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 1521)
Honkytonk Man (1982)
Author/Creator: Clint Eastwood 1930-; Kyle Eastwood; Clancy Carlile 1930-; Fritz Manes; Warner Bros.; Warner Home Video (Firm);
Notes: Summary: Red Stovall is a hard-drinking drifter who sings for his super in second-rate roadhouse bars through some of the loneliest, dustiest countryside ever ravaged by the Great Depression. Stovall, however, nurses the embers of a dream–to audition with the legendary Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. Credits: Executive producer, Fritz Manes; producer and director, Clint Eastwood; screenplay, Clancy Carlile, based upon his novel. Credits: Clint Eastwood, Kyle Eastwood.
Description: 1 videodisc (123 min.): sd., col.; 4 3/4 in.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 9943)
The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)
Author/Creator: Jeremy Paul Kagan; Meredith Salenger; John Cusack 1966-; Ray Wise 1947-; Walt Disney Pictures.; Lobell/Bergman Productions.; Silver Screen Partners II.; Walt Disney Home Entertainment (Firm); Buena Vista Home Entertainment (Firm);
Notes: Summary: A 12-year-old girl leaves Chicago to search for her single father, who has gone to Washington State to look for work during the Great Depression. Along the way, she forms a close bond with two traveling companions, a protective wolf and a hardened drifter. Credits: Directory of photography, Dick Bush; editor, David Holden; music by James Horner. Credits: Meredith Salenger, John Cusack, Ray Wise, Lainie Kazan, Scatman Crothers, Barry Miller, Verna Bloom, Bruce M. Fischer.
Description: 1 videodisc (ca. 101 min.): sd., col.; 4 3/4 in.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 15796)
Author/Creator: Russell Crowe 1964-; Ron Howard; Renée Zellweger 1969-; Paul Giamatti; Craig Bierko; Paddy Considine; Salvatore Totino; Thomas Newman 1955-; Universal Pictures (Firm);
Notes: Summary: During the Great Depression, an everyday common-man hero, James J. Braddock was to become one of the most surprising sports legends in history. With the Depression going strong in the early 1930s, the impoverished ex-boxer was seemingly as broken-down and out-of-luck as the rest of the America. Driven by love and determination, he returned to the ring. He did not have much of a shot, but James was fueled by something beyond mere competition. He kept winning and suddenly, the ordinary working man became an icon who carried the hopes and dreams of the disenfranchised on his shoulders. Eventually, he rose through the ranks and went on to fight the heavyweight champ, the unstoppable Max Baer. Credits: Director of photography, Salvatore Totino; art directors, Peter Grundy, Dan Yarhi; editors, Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hall; music, Thomas Newman; costume designer, Daniel Orlandi; production designer, Wynn Thomas; visual effects supervisor, Mark O. Forker. Credits: Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti, Craig Bierko, Paddy
Description: 1 videodisc (145 min.): sd., col.; 4 3/4 in.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 4088)
Author/Creator: Keith Barish; Marcia Nasatir; William Kennedy 1928-; Hector Babenco; Jack Nicholson; Meryl Streep; Carroll Baker 1931-; Michael O’Keefe 1955-; Diane Venora; Fred Gwynne; William Kennedy 1928-; Home Box Office (Firm); TAFT Entertainment Pictures.; Lionsgate (Firm);
Notes: Summary: Albany, New York, Halloween, 1938. Francis Phelan and Helen Archer are bums. She used to be a singer on the radio, he used to be a major league pitcher. Death surrounds them. Helen is sick, one of their pals has cancer, he digs graves at the cemetery and visits the grave of his infant son whom he dropped. Visions of his past haunt him, including ghosts of two men he killed. One night, while drinking, Helen tries to sing at a bar. Next day, Fran visits his wife and children and meets a grandson. He could stay, but decides it’s not for him. Helen gets their things out of storage and finds a hotel. Amidst their mistakes and dereliction, they live with a code of fairness and loyalty. _Credits: Director of photography, Lauro Escorel; editor, Anne Goursaud; music, John Morris. _Credits: Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Carroll
Description: 1 videodisc (143 min.): sd., col.; 4 3/4 in
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 11410)
Author/Creator: Robert Benton; David Newman; Burnett Guffey; Dede Allen; Estelle Parsons; Gene Hackman; Michael J Pollard; Faye Dunaway; Warren Beatty 1937-; Arthur Penn 1922-; Warner Home Video (Firm); Tatira-Hillerman Productions.; Warner Bros.-Seven Arts.;
Notes: Summary: The legend of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow is the basis for a gangster movie set in the southwestern U.S. during the Depression. _Credits: Written by David Newman and Robert Benton; produced by Warren Beatty; directed by Arthur Penn; editor, Dede Allen; cinematography, Burnett Guffey. _Credits: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, and Estelle Parsons, et al.
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 4088)
Author/Creator: Peter Bogdanovich 1939-; Joe David Brown; Ryan O’Neal; Directors Company.; Paramount.;
Notes: Summary: A nine-year old cigarette-smoking orphan joins a smooth-talking Bible salesman driving through Depression-era Kansas and manages to show the con man some new tricks. _Credits: Ryan O’Neal, Madeline Kahn, John Hillerman, Tatum O’Neal.
Description: 1 videocassette (102 min.): sd., b&w; 1/2 in
NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center Main Collection (DVD 4088)
Of Mice and Men (several versions)
1939, with Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney Jr.
1981, with Robert Blake and Randy Quaid
1992, with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise