Barossa Film Club’s screening for May is the classic 1940’s film “The Grapes of Wrath”, which is director John Ford's most famous black and white epic drama - the classic adaptation of John Steinbeck's 1940 Pulitzer Prize-winning, widely-read 1939 novel. This film was the most popular left-leaning, socialistic-themed film of pre-World War II Hollywood.
The title of the film was taken from the Battle Hymn of the Republic, by Julia Ward. On the screen, the film honestly and realistically recreates the socio-economic impact of the Great Depression and a mid-30s drought upon one representative family - the Joads. Its theme of an oppressed people's epic move to a new home parallels the Biblical story of Exodus. Their family name, Joad, also evokes the Biblical character of Job. There was a total of seven Academy Award nominations for the film - with two wins: Best Supporting Actress (Jane Darwell) for her role as the archetypal mother figure, and Best Director (John Ford). Jane Darwell is marvelous as the strong center and backbone of the migratory family that must leave its ancestral land, and Henry Fonda is magnificent as an unmercifully-harassed Okie who refuses to be beaten and crushed by misfortune.