While trying to watch Darryl F. Zanuck's film of John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath with an historian's eye, several things jumped out at me. First, and least important really, was a sense that the people — the actors in the movie — were too clean, too well-fed and too pretty to be realistic. They did not look like the people I imagined when I first read the book. And, even though the film was in black and white, the scenery in the early scenes set in Oklahoma seemed too "green." Looking at all the grass and the trees full of leaves it was hard for me to believe that this was set in "dust bowl" Oklahoma. If I wanted to give my students a sense of what life was like in the agricultural midwest during the drought years of the 1930s, I do not think I would use the opening scenes from this movie as a visual aid.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.