Cradle Will Rock
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Tim Robbins, director, kept the film moving at a frenetic pace-flowing smoothly-overlapping several sub-plots and vignettes-and pulling it all together for the opening night of the landmark Marxist musical play. He cast his lovely lady-Susan Sarandon, in the small part of Mussolini's mistress Margherita. She shined as usual. Hank Azaria was very intense and effective as the composer Blitzstein-who heard "music" while immersed in the strife of the times. Ruben Blades played the artist Diego Rivera quite effectively-but that part will always belong to Alfred Molina after his turn in FRIDA (2002). John Cusack played NY mayor Nelson Rockefeller. Angus MacFadyen hammed it up a bit much as the young tiger-Orson Welles. Carey Elwes played John Houseman with a bit of a limp wrist. Cherry Jones was very good as Hallie Flanagan-head of the FTP. Vanessa Redgrave had a ball playing Countess LaGrange. Philip Baker Hall was the fictitious steel magnate-Gray Mathers. Bill Murray did a grand job playing ventriloquist-Tommy Crickshaw. Joan Cusack was prissy-good as muckraker Hazel Huffman. Emily Watson lifted our spirits playing down-on-her-luck Olive Stanton. John Turturro stood out as the young actor and family man-Aldo Silvano. The supporting cast was huge.Read more ›
Set in the turbulent 1930's, Robbins' tale focuses on the National Theatre Company, an organization set up by Roosevelt during the Depression to provide out-of-work artists a vehicle through which to ply their trade and culture-starved audiences a chance to revel in the glories of live theatrical performances. Unfortunately, it was also a time of great civil and political upheaval, with Communism and Fascism battling for supremacy abroad and many Americans divided along similar lines in their loyalties. With passions running deep, it was only a matter of time before many in the United States Congress began suspecting the NTC of Communist sympathizing - and it was a short road from there to the eventual dismemberment of the organization. The film centers on the production of a controversial musical play called `The Cradle Will Rock' that portrays the glorious coming of unionism to a steel factory, a scenario that parallels the events in the lives of several of the characters in the film.Read more ›
The writing in this film is incredibly well done and the cast is amazing. It is overflowing with notable actors (John Cusack, Hank Azaria, Susan Sarandon, Cary Elwes, Bill Murray, etc) and famous characters (Diego Rivera, William Randolph Hearst, Orson Welles, etc). Most films about this era are disappointing because they don't seem to capture it without being preachy or overly sentimental. This one is not perfect, but it is much closer. Aside from the historical stories, the film is actually interesting to watch and the characters are relatable.
The music is done well too. The characters do not just burst into song; they have a reason for singing when they do, which is not too terribly often.
The only complaint I have is the historical accuracy of some of the real characters. As a fan of silent films, I was disappointed to see that the few scenes with Marion Davies managed to portray her as a drunk and a dimwit. Even Hearst was portrayed to be rather overbearing and pompous. Still, they were a minor part of the action and did not ruin the film.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
another video for my volunteer group, it was greeted joyfully and watched happily. I use my sustenance giving to the group to get the videos they want and this was another. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tabi
While there are moments of cartoonish characterizations, the movie is a sprawling success. I use this film to teach (upper levels) about an important time in American Theater, and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by David Nields
As important today as when it was made. Dark comedy and drama. Excellent acting and writing.Published 4 months ago by Vickie Kibellus
Movies about movies (or in this case plays) are often very self-indulgent and self-congratulatory on the part of the filmmakers, and this one was no exception. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Craig Baker
I was one of the 1000 or so extras in this movie... otherwise I'd have only given it 1 star.Published 13 months ago by George
Was filmed in part in Newark, N.J. ...A great capturing of an ignored part of this country's historyMy MyPublished 13 months ago by Donald M. Karp my rview of fRank should be 5 stars.
I had this film pegged in the first 10 minutes. A smug-fest of liberal self-congratulation. It warms the cockles of my heart to watch a pompous self-impressed twit like Tim Robbins... Read morePublished 14 months ago by William B. Fankboner
Came from the Goodwill in Indianapolis in great shape. Really good retelling of the true story of the Federal Theatre Project. Seems almost unreal as you watch it. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Colleen E. Cunningham