The Grapes of Wrath

Früchte des Zorns
‘Got a match?’ After four years in prison for murder, Tom Joad returns home to finds his family’s farm deserted. Like so many, the Oklahoma farmers were driven from their land by deed holders in cohort with banks, with sheriffs often using brutal eviction tactics. Tom tracks down his family to travel with them to California in search of work. But the migrant worker camps are all overcrowded, and hunger and exploitation are the rule … This film version of John Steinbeck’s masterpiece about the Great Depression is a ‘film noir’ of social injustice. The clouds above are black, as are the long shadows under a sun hanging low in the sky. For many of the driving scenes at night, the only light in the makeshift truck is the narrow beam of a petroleum lamp, or a car’s headlights – even during a scene where they bury one of their own by the side of the road. In 1967, John Ford told Peter Bogdanovich, ‘Gregg Toland did a great job of photography there – absolutely nothing but nothing to photograph, not one beautiful thing in there – just sheer good photography. I said to him, ‘Part of it will be in blackness, but let’s photograph it. Let’s take a chance and do something different.’ It worked out all right.’
by John Ford
with Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine
USA 1940 129’