Behind the Scenes of the Movie The Grapes of Wrath Part 1

About the film The Grade of Wrath, plot summary and behind the scenes of one of the best movies of all time.



The Story: Released from prison, Tom Joad returns home to Oklahoma to find that his family's small farm has succumbed to the disastrous dust storms that ravaged much of the Southwest in the 1930s. When the bank forecloses on their property, the Joads pile their belongings on their rickety old jalopy and head for California and the promise of employment. But the promise is unfulfilled as they find themselves only one of thousands of families in similar straits. They are forced to live in subhuman conditions, and they receive ridiculously low wages for the little work they manage to get. Tom becomes involved in union activities and is forced to flee when he kills a man in self-defense. The rest of the family vow to stay together believing that unity will keep them strong.

The Story behind the Story: When Darryl F. Zanuck bought the screen rights to John Steinbeck's new novel for a record $75,000, it was believed that he had done so in order to make sure that the film would never get made, thus pleasing the banks and big-farm interests that were the villains in the book. Zanuck insisted, however, that not only would the film get made, but it would be faithful to the character and purpose of the book, as stipulated in his agreement with the author. But the skeptics persisted, and in an article in Click magazine in October, 1939, they doubted that "censor-beset, taboo-inhibited Hollywood will have the guts faithfully to reproduce the squalor and misery of Steinbeck's tragic people." Zanuck fired off a telegram in reply. "When I pay $75,000 for a book, you can bet your last cent that I am going to film it as I see it and no amount of pressure is going to stop me. I see Grapes of Wrath as John Steinbeck saw it when he wrote it."

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