The Crowd (1928)

Description   [from Freebase]

The Crowd is a 1928 American silent film directed by King Vidor. It is notable for its dramatization of the concerns and dangers of urbanization and modernity. The picture is an influential and acclaimed feature and was nominated for the Academy Award for Unique and Artistic Production. In 1989, this film was one of the first 25 films to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The film centers on ambitious but undisciplined New York City office worker John Sims (played by James Murray) who meets and marries Mary (Eleanor Boardman). They start a family, struggle to cope with marital stress, financial setbacks, and tragedy, all while lost amid the anonymous, pitiless throngs of the big city. The Crowd was conceived and filmed under the artistic vision of famed director King Vidor, who sought the film to be innovative in its story, acting, and cinematography. The film mixes striking visual styles and moving camera cinematography, influenced by 1920s German cinema and F.W. Murnau in particular, with intense, intimate scenes of the family's poignant struggle.


The crowd laughs with you always, but it cries with you for only a day.

Such is the sentiment of this masterwork of the silent era — perhaps the best silent film ever made and undoubtedly the most existential. Heart-wrenching, The Crowd is the story of life in the big city of New York during the 1920s. Vehemently realistic, the film portrays life as hard and with few rewards. James Murray makes the perfect Everyman, who sees the ups and, well, mostly the downs with his wife Mary, played by Eleanor Boardman. (Ironically, Murray became an alcoholic after this film, and died in a fall nine years later, destitute.)

If you don’t like the silent era, think again — and take a peek at The Crowd. Even the special effects are to be admired.

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