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Our Daily Bread & Other Films of the Great Depression (1934)

Thomas Chalmers  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Our Daily Bread & Other Films of the Great Depression + The Films of Pare Lorentz
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Product Details

  • Actors: Thomas Chalmers
  • Format: Black & White, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 10, 1999
  • Run Time: 194 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305473188
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,314 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Our Daily Bread & Other Films of the Great Depression" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Titles Include: King Vidor's Our Daily Bread (with prologue, 1934, 78 min.), California Election News #1 and #2 (13 min.), Pare Lorentz's The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936, 25 min.), Pare Lorentz's The River (1937, 31 min.), Joris Ivens' Power and the Land (1940, 37 min.) and H.P. McClure's The New Frontier (1934, 10 min.)

Editorial Reviews

Film portraits of the Great Depression. Franklin Roosevelt's 1933 inauguration marked a rebirth of hope among Americans and began an unprecedented era of government activity and social experiment. The non-fiction films included on this DVD mirror the 1930s new social consciousness that was helping to pull America out it's economic and societal depression. Included on this disc are: King Vidor's "Our Daily Bread" (with prologue, 1934, 78 min.), "California Election News #1 and #2" (13 min.), "The Plow That Broke the Plains" (1936, 25 min.), "The River" (1937, 31 min.), "Power and the Land" (1940, 37 min.), and "The New Frontier" (1934, 10 min.).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look for the 2005 re-release January 9, 2006
By Tryavna
If you're interested in getting this excellent compilation of films about the Great Depression, then please note that Image Entertainment re-released this DVD in late 2005. The cover is slightly different, featuring a still photo of two children from "The River." For some reason, Image hasn't been on the ball lately, and many e-tailers (including Amazon) continue to list this title -- as well as the silent documentaries "Grass" and "Chang" -- as out of print. It isn't. You can still find it here occasionally and with e-tailers who specialize in rare and hard-to-find DVDs (like Facets). There's no reason to pay more than $30 for this title unless you want the OOP 1st issue.

The movies themselves: As John Marr points out in his review below, "Our Daily Bread" is a little dated and corny in its story and acting, but it's still a fine movie made by a superb American director, King Vidor. Vidor made this movie independently -- hence some of the non-professional actors. But it's well-crafted and features an astonishing and now-classic irrigation sequence at the climax. The other films vary in quality, but all of them are historically important. "The New Frontier" is a short piece of fluff news about the kind of cooperative community that inspired "Our Daily Bread." The two California newsreels are infamous for having used professional actors and not "average joes"; historians think that these propoganda pieces helped defeat the left-wing Upton Sinclair during his gubernatorial bid in 1934. (The first newsreel is actually quite subtle, but the second is pretty transparent.) More artistically interesting are the three documentaries: Pare Lorentz's "Plow that Broke the Plains" and "The River" and Joris Ivens' "Power and the Land.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding documnetary overview of the Depression February 26, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
There are very few movies I chose to see again and again, and fewer still when it comes to documentaries. However this film is filled with wonderful period pieces -- mostly carefully chosen newsreel and movie clips -- that weave a woeful tale of the Depression. Strangely enough,the film is almost exhilarating, showing the courage and perseverance of individual Americans as well as the country as they faced the 1929 Crash and struggled through the grim thirties. There are dozens of carefully chosen movie clips using characters portrayed by Cagney,Bogart,etc., as well as many other lesser known actors and films dealing with very real issues of survival. I bought this DVD three years ago. When I went to purchase it for a friend I was surprised to see that no one had reviewed it! It deserves five stars and a much wider audience. (There is a short film, "The River", about the 1937 Mississippi flood, which by itself is worth the price of the DVD.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "All Together Now" July 30, 2007
(3 1/2 *'s) `Films of the Great Depression' isn't (or aren't if each are considered separately) great cinema, but it is a fascinating archive for a quaint time in American history when everything was far more difficult and dear than today. `Our Daily Bread' is the only feature with actual actors, and the rest are mostly government supplied documentaries on New Deal programs and their before and after resonance in people's live during the Depression. `The River' shows commerce and livelihoods as their effected by the Tennessee Valley Authority (or TVA), and `The Power of the Land' demonstrates how government programs enabled rural residents to hook up with electricity and make their lives easier. `The California Election News' is distinctive. While the issues aren't laid out before the viewer, the participants answers are revealing enough to fill in the gaps. An interviewer asks people of several walks of life whom they're voting for in the governor's election. The interviewees state their preference and why they'd vote for a certain candidate. 'Our Daily Bread' showcases a fairy tale of sorts about a community coming together to share work and possessions while overcoming pernicious poverty and drought. While the acting isn't great, one could imagine Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland filling the leading roles nicely instead.

It's understandable the praise that's been heaped upon `Films of the Great Depression'. It's an interesting piece of time travel that documents a difficult time in America.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking Back September 22, 2009
By M. Hess
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"I think adults realize they have to reconnect with the past, so they can understand the hardships that their forebearers have overcome. When looking back we see that our current hardships are not as bad as that of the former generations and gives us the strength to overcome these hardships of today." We have more social programs today, we can connect through the internet and we know what is happening throughout the United States, we don't have to travel unknowingly to find work to support our families. We have so much more today than they had, there is no reason we cannot overcome our situation today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FILM THAT SPEAKS FOR ITS TIME May 31, 2013
By Casey62
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Made when Hollywood was largely committed to providing escapism for audiences gripped by the Great Depression, King Vidor's OUR DAILY BREAD (UA,1934) was a radical departure in its honest, down to earth depiction of America's dismal economic situation. Undismayed by the studios' rejection of his film, director Vidor mortgaged his home and borrowed money to get it made. This "never say die" determination behind its making only seems fitting for a film whose premise is about that very same spirit.

Written by Vidor, OUR DAILY BREAD tells the story of a dispossessed urban couple who decide to try their luck at farming by organizing a co-operative community of tradesmen, all committed to establishing a livelihood of self-sufficiency off the land. Karen Morley and Tom Keene give heartfelt performances in the lead roles, with apt support from John Qualen as a Swede - a character he specialized in, Barbara Pepper as a brassy blonde, and Addison Richards as an escaped con who makes a noble sacrifice to benefit the cause.

The film exhibits the general attitude of most Americans who felt betrayed by politicians and business magnates whom they viewed as being directly responsible for the economic crisis. It also delivers a message of hope that, with mutual effort and determination, any obstacle can be overcome. When viewed within the context of its times, OUR DAILY BREAD can be better appreciated as being instrumental in lifting the spirits of a generation fallen on hard times. Propaganda or not, they needed a film like this. The final sequence in which workers are digging an irrigation ditch and the water is unleashed, racing down toward a parched cornfield, is one of the most exhilarating cinematic moments of all time.
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