the cradle will rock
POSTED ON 8/06/2007 | PERMALINK |0 Comments | BOOKMARK

From All Movie Guide:
The sometimes rocky relationship between art and politics in America in the 1930s -- as well as the gulf between the wealthy and the struggling -- sets the stage for Tim Robbins' ambitious comedy-drama Cradle Will Rock. Pulling together a variety of threads from actual events, Robbins examines the lives and ambitions of a variety of creative mavericks and figures of power.
The film features such historical figures as Diego Rivera, Nelson Rockefeller, Orson Wellews, John Houseman, Frida Kahlo, William Randolph Hearst and Margherita Sarfatti and stars heavy hitters including Hank Azaria, Rueben Blades, John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Cherry Jones, Carey Elwes, Phillip Baker Hall, Bill Murray, Vanessa Redgrave, Susan Sarrandon, John Tuturro, Emily Watson, Bob Balaban, Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Paul Giamatti and Gretchen Moll.

(trivia: listen for Azaria doing a voice suspiciously close to Carl (of The Simpsons) toward the end of the flick)

From Wikipedia:
The dramatic premiere of the pro-union The Cradle Will Rock was at the Venice Theater on June 16, 1937. The cast had been locked out of the Maxine Elliott Theatre by the WPA, the government agency which had originally funded the production, and so a performance without sets or costumes took place, with actors and musicians performing from the audience (to evade union restrictions on their performance) and Blitzstein narrating at the piano. In 1939, Blitzstein's close friend Leonard Bernstein led a revival of the play at Harvard, narrating from the piano just as Blitzstein had done.
A scene from a rare 1983 performance of the play:

The film, while flawed, is one of my favorites. The performances are electric, even if some of them are absurd caricatures. The mashup of artistic, historical and political figures and events is nothing short of intoxicating. I can watch it over and over again.
previously on wtg:
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