If I were to come up with the quintessential American filmmaker, the name that would almost certainly come up would be John Ford. Here, he gives us an excellent example of his fortitude and finesse as a director, in what would win him his second Best Director Oscar. The Grapes of Wrath is most likely familiar to those who have gone through high school English lit classes, and the John Steinbeck novel fares excellent material for the medium of film, especially under the direction of Ford.
This is an ideal slice of Dustbowl-era Americana, although perhaps not on the wanted side. The journey along with the Joads is portrayed as droll and arduous as it likely was for poor farm-folk of the time, and John Ford’s direction deserves extra credit here. The film is simple, and very well paced; it may seem slow at times, but it is merely letting the story flow at a natural pace, rather than trying to push it forwards. Henry Fonda fits into the material surprisingly well for such a recognizable face, and the rest of the Joad family are perfectly cast and portrayed.
I am swiftly becoming a fan of John Ford. Regarded as one of the greatest directors of all time, he is incredibly dependable and reliable, not to mention consistent. His prowess is finely shown here. This is a fine adaptation and a fine film in its own right. Not sure if I’d call it a must see, but then again, a lot of films here aren’t really must see, but they’re all good films regardless.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10