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«We're the people that live». 'The Grapes of Wrath' from novel to film


  • Giaime Alonge

    () (Università di Torino - Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici)


'The Grapes of Wrath' – both John Steinbeck’s novel and John Ford’s film – is certainly the most well known narrative the American culture has produced about the Great Depression. This paper analyzes the filmic adaptation of Steinbeck’s work focusing on two main questions. 1. The novel’s political content, which was definitely problematic for a Hollywood studio of the classical era. Steinbeck’s ideas were ‘tamed’, but not betrayed, and the final result was a frankly left-wing movie. 2. The novel’s style, which melts traditional narrative and experimental storytelling. In accordance with the Hollywood mode of representation, the movie ignores the novel’s more avant-garde elements. But at the same time, Ford’s film presents scenes that go beyond the canons of mise-en-scène and editing typical of classical cinema, melting harsh realism with expressionistic stylization.

Suggested Citation

  • Giaime Alonge, 2014. "«We're the people that live». 'The Grapes of Wrath' from novel to film," History of Economic Ideas, Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa - Roma, vol. 22(3), pages 149-158.
  • Handle: RePEc:hid:journl:v:22:y:2014:3:7:p:149-158

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