Monday, October 19, 2009

38. The Crowd (1928)

Running Time: 104 minutes
Directed By: King Vidor
Written By: King Vidor, John V.A. Weaver
Main Cast: James Murray, Eleanor Boardman, Bert Roach, Estelle Clark, Daniel G. Tomlinson


The above words are the first uttered by our protagonist as he enters New York City, ready to captivate The Big Apple and take it by storm. King Vidor directs and I finally caught this one on TCM exactly four months to the day after I should've watched it originally.

Johnny Sims is our main man in "The Crowd". The film starts with his birth and his father immediately has high hopes for him, hoping that he may even be the President of the U.S. someday, since Johnny was born on July 4, 1900. We flash forward to 1912 and Johnny is twelve years old as he sits out on the front stoop with his pals and they chat about what they want to be when they grow up. An ambulance buzzes by them and stops in front of Johnny's home, paramedics rushing inside. Johnny's father has suddenly passed away and we see the horrified look on John's face as the camera pans down the stairwell and onto our protagonist. We flash forward, yet again, and Johnny is all grown up and arriving in New York City, ready to get a job and make it big, like his father predicted. He doesn't have any trouble landing a job in a large office building, as an accountant and one day, when work ends, one of his co-workers asks him if he'll double with two gal pals of his. He accepts and that is when he meets his future wife, Mary.

John and Mary get married and get their own apartment, a tiny one, but a new home nonetheless for the happy new couple. Mary's mother and brothers don't think too highly of John, but Mary loves and understands him and that's all that matters. Despite a big quarrel early on in their marriage, Mary and John bury the hatch, when Mary announces that she's pregnant. Nine months later their baby boy is born and everything is as happy as it once was. Five years after that, John has received an eight dollar raise and a baby girl has been welcomed into the family. Everything looks just fine for the Sims family, that is, until tragedy strikes. One day, after John gets a $500 check for submitting an ad slogan for Magic Cleaner, he brings home presents for the entire family. He sticks his head out the apartment window to find his children across the street, with the other kids. Waving a new scooter in front of their eyes they come barreling across the road. The boy makes it just fine, but the girl is struck by an automobile and she eventually dies. From their things go from bad to worse for the Sims family, which makes "The Crowd" a truly emotional and later, inspiring tragedy.

I remember having a good feeling about this movie back in October, when I originally was forced to skip over it. This was a really great film, plain and simple, as it really hit you where you wanted to be hit and made you feel all of the emotions that the characters in the film were going through. I've always had a place in my heart for tragic films, where the characters must face many different hardships and downfalls, before finally learning the grand lesson in the end of everything, and this is just that kind of movie. Everything meshes together well and King Vidor's dream of making an average movie about an average man is pulled off excellently. This film depicts everyday life and not just everyday life in 1928, but everything that is presented here, still holds true today, as people still face the same types of troubles that these characters were facing back in the silent era. This film holds up really well and is still highly enjoyable, even as we enter the first few months of 2010.

RATING: 8.5/10 Great film and I'm really glad I finally got the chance to watch it. It makes me wonder about all those other films I've been forced to skip and how good they have the potential of being.

NEXT UP: The Docks of New York...Can't find this one either.

October 18, 2009 9:02pm
Revised: February 19, 2010 3:06am


  1. A minor triumph! This is 'not available' in Europe, but a friend of mine found a copy of a copy on Ebay . (same with 'Greed'), and I watched it last night.
    Yes, 'Dock's of New York' I'm missing as welol.. as you say, what other treasure is, probably for internal company politics, is not available..

  2. So did you like this one Ray? I thought it was fantastic and still holds up as one of my finest silent era finds.

  3. Sorry, I got so excited about telling someone I'd see it, I forgot to reply to your comment.
    Good, with superb moments is about as high as I will go. The rather slow moments bogged it down in places, and it got a little 'weepy' at times. But that is nit-picking. The overall effect I enjoyed.


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