Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Economic Crisis and the Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Hundreds of news articles are referring to our current economic crisis as the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Movies were just coming of age in that decade. The first talkie was “The Jazz Singer” in 1927 and the first three-strip Technicolor film was “Becky Sharp” in 1935. So the first big contemporary story told in movies was about the Depression and films as varied as Meet John Doe, Swing Time, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, The Grapes of Wrath, Sullivan’s Travels, Gold Diggers of 1933, Modern Times, and The Poor Little Rich Girl with Shirley Temple, the Depression era’s top box office star, both reflected and influenced their time.

Advertisement

In The Guardian, David Thomson writes about the classic films of the 30’s and his pessimism that the current economic struggles will produce anything as enduring.

In 1930, the talent in American pictures was from literature, the theatre and journalism, with educated backgrounds and a shared sense of the moral identity in being American. Today’s talent consists of absurdly rich young people who have made the hits of the past dozen years. They know very little about life, except what they have to lose. Those people and much of the audience have lost the habit, or even the memory, of hard times.

Advertisement

While we might not see anything like Ginger Rogers singing “We’re in the Money” in pig latin during the recovery from this economic upheaval, history has shown that the toughest times most often produce the greatest art. Furthermore, just as technology transformed the movies of the 1930’s, changes that it possible for people to create and distribute movies outside the studio system are opening up the chance to share stories and ideas to a much broader range of people from a much broader range of backgrounds than was possible 80 years ago. I look forward to seeing what hardship inspires. And in the meantime, we can still enjoy Ginger singing about how she’s in-way the oney-may.

  • Mark

    I think 2 great films that deal with the upbeat films of the depression age along with it’s harsh reality are ‘Purple Rose of Cairo'(1985) and ‘Pennies From Heaven’ (1981). They both have of elements of humor and joy but are ultimately very sad…they show the influence of film during that very tough time…

Previous Posts

Trailer: Mississippi Grind with Ryan Reynolds
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ooca5idaNSk?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0" frameborder="0"] Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn star in "Mississippi Grind," about two gamblers, one successful, one not, ...

posted 8:00:11am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Mockingjay 2, the Last Chapter of The Hunger Games
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-7K_OjsDCQ ...

posted 11:33:30pm Jul. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Behind the Scenes: Making Michael Douglas Younger in "Ant-Man" and Wigs and Makeup for Key and Peele
"Ant-Man" begins with a flashback to 1989, with Michael Douglas appearing not as he looks to day but as he looked 25 years ago. How did they do that? Special effects that are called "digital make-up." New York Magazine's Vulture has the ...

posted 8:00:25am Jul. 26, 2015 | read full post »

New on DVD: Tales from the Royal Wardrobe
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OvH0TgkvbY[/youtube] New from PBS: Tales From the Royal Wardrobe. Historian Dr. Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, explains that the fascination with the clothes worn by the ...

posted 10:54:10pm Jul. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Spoiler Alert: What Really Doesn't Work in "Trainwreck" -- and the Surprising Moments that Do
SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT I had a few more thoughts about Amy Schumer's "Trainwreck" that didn't fit into my review because ...

posted 3:37:37pm Jul. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.