lunes, 12 de noviembre de 2007
lunes, 5 de noviembre de 2007
The Crowd (1928) is a genuine, immortal, timeless American silent film masterpiece from director King Vidor, whose earlier big WWI epic The Big Parade (1925) had been a major box-office hit for MGM studios. This experimental, social commentary film, with a screenplay by King Vidor and John V.A. Weaver, was remarkably different from other feature films of its time because of its non-Hollywoodish reflection of daily life. [A record of sorts, it was the first US feature film to show a bathroom with a toilet bowl.]With a novice actor (James Murray) in the lead role, the film was simply a realistic, bittersweet drama of the existence of an ordinary common and average American (an Everyman prototype embodied in a white-collar worker) trying to make it with his wife in the monolithic big city - but without any maudlin sentimentality, extreme passion, exploitation of romance, or escapist melodrama. Reality intrudes as he experiences cramped living conditions, a boring job, and a limited life with regret and bitterness, rather than what he had expected.Vidor's natural and uncompromising film tells the episodic, poignant story of the working and domestic life of an average, commonplace man in 'the crowd' - John - with his wife Mary (played exquisitely by the director's real-life wife), chronicling their meeting, courtship, marriage, and family life. The director also cast a virtual unknown newcomer to the role of the husband in his candid view of the average man - a character lost in the midst of the faceless masses. The film's director refused to pass judgment on the harsh realities of life for the workaday couple, either by condemning or celebrating the gloom of the bleak tragedy befalling them. Instead, he visually and eloquently captured their believable human struggle as they lived their unidealized lives and confronted disappointing setbacks, the tragic death of their daughter, dashed hopes and brief triumphs, and eventually found comfort in the anonymity of the masses, watching an unfunny theatrical clown act. To capture the authenticity of the city, the director sometimes used a 'hidden camera' in his on-location shoots in New York. Stylistically, the film, in various places, resembles the German expressionist films of F. W. Murnau and Fritz Lang, although it also uses fluid and natural camera movements. King Vidor received an Academy Award nomination as Best Director, and the film itself was nominated as Best Unique and Artistic Picture in a short-lived award category. Six years later, Vidor independently produced and directed a 'talkie' sequel to The Crowd (intended as part of a film trilogy) titled Our Daily Bread (1934) - it was a Depression-Era, hard-times social drama about an idealistic man who was running a farm cooperative organized as a socialistic society - in the country away from the crowd.