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The Grapes of Wrath/How Green Was My Valley/The Ox Bow Incident/Gentleman's Agreement [4 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • The Grapes of Wrath:
  • Audio commentary by film historian Joseph McBride and Steinbeck scholar Susan Shillinglaw
  • U.K. prologue
  • Darryl F. Zannuck: 20th century filmmaker as seen on Biography on the A&E Network
  • Restoration comparison
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Still gallery
  • Fox Movietonews: Worst drought in many Years hits middle west (1934)
  • Drought distress is increasing in the midwest (1934)
  • Midwest drought distress becomes national disaster (1934)
  • Outlaws (1934)
  • Roosevelt lauds motion picures at academy fete (1941)
  • How Green Was My Valley:
  • Audio commentary by actor Anna Lee Nathan and film historian Joseph McBride, author of Searching for John Ford
  • Hollywood backstories: How Green Was My Valley
  • The Ox-Bow Incident:
  • Commentary by Dick Eulain (Western Scholar) and William Wellman Jr.
  • Henry Fonda: hollywood's quiet hero as seen on Biography on the A&E Network
  • Gentleman's Agreement:
  • Commentary by June Havoc, Richard Schickel and Celeste Holm
  • Hollywood backstories: Gentlemen's Agreement
  • 2 Fox Movietonews reels
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

How Green Was My Valley
Spanning 50 years, director John Ford's How Green Was My Valley revolves around the life of the Morgans, a Welsh mining family, as told through the eyes of its youngest child Huw (Roddy McDowall). Over the years, the family struggles to survive through unionization, strikes, and child abuse. As they do so, their hometown and its culture begins to slowly decline. Donald Crisp portrays Gwilym, the patriarch of the Morgan household, who dreams of a better life for young Huw. Based on the novel of the same name by Richard Llewellyn, How Green Was My Valley won five Academy Awards in 1941, including Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Crisp), Best Art Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Picture (beating Citizen Kane). The book was later adapted into a 1975 BBC miniseries. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi

The Ox-Bow Incident
This now-classic indictment of mob rule was a pet project of both star Henry Fonda and director William Wellman, both of whom agreed to work on lesser 20th Century-Fox projects in exchange for this film. After a hard winter on the range, cowboys Gil Carter (Fonda) and Art Croft (Harry Morgan) ride into a fleabitten small town for a drink. Within minutes, they get mixed up in a barroom brawl, which earns them the animosity of the locals. By and by, word reaches town that a local rancher has been killed by rustlers. With the sheriff out of town, a lynch mob is formed under the leadership of Major Tetley (Frank Conroy), a former Confederate officer who hopes to recapture past glories. Worried that they'll be strung up, Carter and Croft reluctantly join the mob and head out of town. In the dark of night, the group comes across three sleeping transients: a farmer named Martin (Dana Andrews), a Mexican (Anthony Quinn), and a senile old man (Francis Ford). The fact that Martin carries no bill of sale written by the so-called murder victim is evidence enough for Tetley to demand that the three men be hanged on the spot. Carter knows that this is a gross miscarriage of justice, but he's helpless to intervene. Resolving himself to his fate, Martin gives Carter a letter to deliver to his wife. The three unfortunates die at the end of the rope, and the mob rides off, only to discover that there never was a murder of any kind. Based on a novel by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, The Ox-Bow Incident is not so much a western as a gothic melodrama, with deep, looming shadows and atmospheric underlighting worthy of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Though the film lost a fortune at the box office (a fact that Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck never tired of pointing out to Fonda and Wellman), it gains in stature with each passing year. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Grapes of Wrath
The adaptation of Nobel Prize-winner John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of dirt-poor Dust Bowl migrants by 4-time Oscar-winning director John Ford starred Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, who opens the movie returning to his Oklahoma home after serving jail time for manslaughter. En route, Tom meets family friend Casey (John Carradine), a former preacher who warns Tom that dust storms, crop failures, and new agricultural methods have financially decimated the once prosperous Oklahoma farmland. Upon returning to his family farm, Tom is greeted by his mother (Oscar-winner Jane Darwell), who tells him that the family is packing up for the "promised land" of California. Warned that they shouldn't expect a warm welcome in California--they've already seen the caravan of dispirited farmers, heading back home after striking out at finding work--the Joads push on all the same. Their first stop is a wretched migrant camp, full of starving children and surrounded by armed guards. Further down the road, the Joads drive into an idyllic government camp, with clean lodging, indoor plumbing, and a self-governing clientele. When Tom ultimately bids goodbye to his mother, who asks him where he'll go, he delivers the film's most famous speech: "I'll be all around...Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat...Whenever there's a cop beating a guy, I'll be there...And when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build. I'll be there too." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Gentleman's Agreement
Adapted by Moss Hart from the novel by Laura Z. Hobson, this film stars Gregory Peck as recently widowed journalist Phil Green. With a growing son (Dean Stockwell) to support, Green is receptive to the invitation of magazine publisher John Minify (Albert Dekker) to write a series of hard-hitting articles on the scourge of anti-Semitism. In order to glean his information first hand, Green decides to pose as a Jew. As the weeks go by, Green experiences all manner of prejudice, the most insidious being the subtle, "gentleman's agreement" form of bigotry wherein anti-Jewish sentiments are merely taken for granted. Green's pose takes a toll on his budding romance with Minify's niece Kathy (Dorothy McGuire), who comes to realize by her own example that even those who insist that they harbor no anti-Semitic feelings are also capable of prejudice. Watching from the sidelines is Green's lifelong Jewish friend Dave (John Garfield, in what may be his best performance), who despite his inherent rage over the iniquities of racism has learned to be philosophical about the failings of his fellow man-but not to the extent that he's willing to give up the fight against blind hatred. Though warned by several Jewish film moguls that to produce the film would merely "make trouble," 20th Century-Fox chieftan Daryl F. Zanuck (who was not himself Jewish) saw the project through to its conclusion. The wisdom of Zanuck's decision was proven when Gentleman's Agreement not only made a fortune for Fox, but also won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Elia Kazan) and Best Supporting Actress (Celeste Holm). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Walter Pidgeon
    Walter Pidgeon - Mr. Gruffydd
  • Maureen O'Hara
    Maureen O'Hara - Angharad Morgan
  • Donald Crisp
    Donald Crisp - Mr. Morgan
  • Roddy McDowall
    Roddy McDowall - Huw Morgan
  • Barry Fitzgerald
    Barry Fitzgerald - Cyfartha
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