Written by: King Vidor, John V.A. Weaver
Genre: Drama, Romance
Black and White, 98 Minutes
I found out about this film through the 1001 Movies to see before you die book (the film lovers bible), and I was quite impressed with the story. We follow the average man through his life, who is no different from the other millions among the people around him. The film tells a tale of how we, being part of the crowd, can get lost among the crowd when something goes wrong and we step out. The events that happen to our protagonist appear as tragic, but he always strides forward which gives the film a feel-good finale.
We follow the common man born on the year 1900, who we see being brought into the Sims family. We then see him as a 12 year-old boy were the other children are saying what they want to be when they grow up, were we see Simms telling them (through a title card) that he has big plans for when he grows up. Next we see him as a 21 year-old man on his way to New York to fulfil his dream of success. He obtains an office job and on one evening, Bert (Bert Roach), John's co-worker and friend, persuades him to skip his studies and go on a double date with him and Jane (Estelle Clark). Here he meets Mary (Eleanor Boardman), whom he immediately takes romantic interest in. Pretty soon, they get married and from there onwards, we follow John through his financial run, good times and bad.
The story for the first 35 minutes or so is deliberately following a typical story of a bright headed man who wants to amount to something, who falls in love and keeps striding forth to get his goal. After this, the film begins to become something of its own with a surprisingly touching and engaging story.
The character of John, a man who seeks success never gives up in the end as he always looks forward with determination and perseverance. The strong point of the film is the emotional connection we see between John and his wife Mary. Not too long into the marriage, they have arguments like many relations contain, but they forgive one another in the end. It is still a relationship formula used today and here, it has been effectively showing a tender relationship between characters.
Verdict: With a definitive story that audiences today will definitely respond to, and innovative filmmaking techniques, The Crowd is a classic silent film that is among the best.
IMDB Rating: 8.1/10