Plow That Broke The Plains, The; Night Mail
1194. THE PLOW THAT BROKE THE PLAINS and NIGHT MAIL (1934-USA; 1936-England).
1. THE PLOW THAT BROKE THE PLAINS (1934-USA). Written and directed by PARE LORENTZ. Music composed by VIRGIL THOMSON. The Plow That Broke the Plains is one of the cornerstone documentaries in American film history. It was made at the height of the Depression, when Pare Lorentz was film advisor to President Roosevelt’s U.S. Resettlement Administration. It’s the story of America’s Great Plains: windswept grasslands that stretch from the Texas Panhandle up through Canada, an area of “high winds and sun…without rivers and with little rain.” The land was at this time devastated by drought; this powerful, poetic, beautifully photographed film details the area’s history, and the then-current migration of farmers to the Pacific coast: the reality of The Grapes ofWrath. Virgil Thompson’s uniquely American musi score is a highlight.
2. NIGHT MAIL (1936-England). One of the most famous and highly regarded documentaries to come out of Britain during the 1930s. The film was produced by JOHN GRIERSON’s famed GPO Film Unit, and is a homage to the British postal and railway systems. It is the impressively mounted chronicle of the special express train that each year delivers over 500 million pieces of mail across the United Kingdom. Night Mail is a document of precision, and dedication. 49 minutes. Documentary