Our Daily Bread (1934) by King Vidor

Saturday, February 4, 1984, 8:00 pm

The Great Depression II

Film & Photo League/Our Daily Bread


800 Chestnut Street

San Francisco, CA, 94133

Workers Newsreel — Unemployment Special, 1931, 15 min.; The Hunger March to Washington, 1931, 11 min.; Bonus March to Washington, 1932, 14 min.; Workers Newsreel — Detroit Massacre, 1932, 9 min.; Hunger March, 1932, 20 min.; America Today Newsreel, 1932-1934, 14 min. The Film and Photo League recorded the pioneering struggles of the American labor movement. Its films were used to disseminate information among the workers and unemployed. and to build morale. Leo Seltzer and his co-workers Lester Balog and Robert Deluca were the principal cinematographers. With their hand-held 35mm Eyemo cameras they recorded breadlines, Hoovervilles, marches, and the daily conflicts of the times.

Our Daily Bread, by King Vidor, 1934, 71 min.; This highly personal film is a romantic expression of American idealism. In the film’s famous ditch digging sequence, Vidor used the metronome to time the movements of the actors as precisely as in a ballet, editing shot to shot in strict 4/4 time. It is a cardinal example of that phenomenon in which the breaking up and rearranging of photographed events result in an intensification of the film experience.