Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|King Vidor's Our Daily Bread|
Actors: Lionel Baccus, Lynton Brent, Billy Engle, Alma Ferns, Harris Gorden
Director: King Vidor
Studio: Gotham (dba Alpha) Release Date: 06/22/2004
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Shameful video quality of a great film
calvinnme | 05/09/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Like the other reviewer, my rating is for the very poor quality of the DVD, not the film. The problem is, this film was produced by United Artists in 1934, so it is in the public domain - an orphaned work of art. United Artists was created as a counter to the studio system that ruled Hollywood from 1920 until 1950. The good part was that the artists owned their creations and had creative control over their works. The bad part - many copyrights expired and, if the films still exist, often exist with no clear owner and in bad shape.
To really appreciate this film you need to view King Vidor's 1928 silent classic "The Crowd". Both movies are the stories of John and Mary Sims. In the 1928 film, John is done in by his own mediocrity and dreaming during prosperous times overflowing with opportunity. Just six years later the couple by the same name is done in by the Great Depression. Although the two couples have the same name, this is not a sequel. It is King Vidor making a statement on the desperation of the times and how much difference just six years have made in the lives of average people. John actually shows quite a bit of leadership in this film versus "The Crowd". At the beginning, John and Mary are on the verge of being thrown into the street as John cannot find work. Mary's uncle saves the day by allowing them to move into and work a farm that has been foreclosed upon but that nobody wants due to the bad financial times. John, who says he could write a book about what he doesn't know about farming, is helped out by a Minnesota farmer whose own family has been kicked off their farm and is passing through. Pretty soon John gets the idea of turning the farm into a cooperative with people of all professions - plumbers, electricians, masons, etc. - joining in and setting up a system of bartering.
John Sims is voted the leader of the group, but there are obstacles along the way - a drought that threatens the crops and an ex-flapper who wants to lure John away from the cooperative and tries to convince him that it will never amount to anything.
This film is particularly relevant since the U.S. economy is facing challenges similar to those of the Great Depression again. The dollar is becoming the new Peso, oil hits new highs every day threatening to turn suburbs into Shruburbs, and real estate parallels the story of the original stock market crash - assets traded on margin for unrealistic value. Since clicking a mouse isn't a trade that translates into growing grain for "our daily bread" I can't help but wonder where we're headed. Few people have the practical skills that were abundant in the 1930's.
I recommend the out of print VHS copy of Our Daily Bread by Kino, if you can find it. That copy is watchable. Let's hope someone puts out a high quality version of this film on DVD soon."
Lots Of Interpretations
Craig Connell | Lockport, NY USA | 04/02/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Boy, is this film interpreted differently, depending on which critic is discussing it. Overall, however, most of them - including me - like this movie and find it interesting.
Today's critics like to use this film as a boost for socialistic or Commununstic causes, but that's baloney. One could easily do the opposite and use this film as an analogy to the early Christians, too - people who banded together pooling their talents and possessions for the good of the whole group.
This was a simply of story of America during the Great Depression with a bunch of people out of work, so they try to make a living by turning themselves into farmers and making a go of it together.
Tom Keane and Karen Morley star in here, playing husband-and-wife. Morely played a very upbeat, sweet lady who was joy to watch. Keane's acting was strange. At times it bordered on raw amateurism. He also looked, with the wild expressions, as if he were back doing a silent film.
The rest of the cast was solid, from the Swedish farmer to the tough guy who turned himself in to the police to help the rest of the group. Overall, a good film and worth watching, whatever your politics.
However - as others have pointed out here, this DVD is not worth your money. I can kick myself for trading my VHS copy, incorrectly assuming this DVD would be an upgrade in transfer quality. It wasn't.