Endlessly charmed and alarmed by this socialist idyll with its parade of stereotypes, from Karen Morley’s wise slip of a housewife, Tom Keene’s preposterous turn as an idiot-manchild-hero (Hardy Boy for President?), and John Qualen’s ersatz foreigner who knows how to do everything except fix his car. Yes, too bad about the monochromatic cast. And I suspect actual socialism will be much more interesting than this.
The crisis caused by the Great Depression of the 1930s caused many to question the validity of capitalism & explore alternatives. This film reflects socialist values that make it a time capsule, rather than a solid piece of filmmaking.The plot is hokey & naive. The goodhearted "bad guy" is a bad John Wayne impersonator, most other acting rings false. Ends being a flawed attempt at sunny idealism during a dark era.
Simplistic propaganda, but well made & forgiveable during the American depression. Vidor may have drawn on Soviet films like Earth in setting up his tale of inexperienced farmers banding together and overcoming any tragedy of the commons. However, given what had just occurred in the Ukraine & other collectivized regions, ODB comes across as naive today, & lacks the depth that Ford would bring to the Grapes of Wrath.
This film was a bit difficult to watch considering the year of the production. As typical of the times, the acting was very bad. Even still, it was an insightful view of the daily life during the Great Depression. It was also refreshingly contradictory to its time, using socialism and communism as the pinnacle plot element.
If there were some people of color in the cast, this movie might not seem so dated. But the Production Code forbid the depiction of different races living together... Still, a refreshing take on the moral dangers of the "American Dream" and the selfishness of Individualism. Ironic farming tale, what with the Dust Bowl in progress. If Oklahoma only had some irrigation, the Dust Bowl could have been stopped...
Inspiring film for an era when people needed uplifting. Like now, except the communitarian feeling and idealism of the Great Depression have been replaced in our times by the self-serving cynicism embodied in Barbara Pepper’s character—all for one, and I’m the one. A triumph of photography, editing and music score.