112 Great Directors: King Vidor

“In my opinion, the motion picture is the greatest medium of expression ever invented. It embraces all the other arts. The films that have the greatest unity, the greatest overall strength, and give the most satisfaction to the viewer, have been those in which a guiding hand was imposed in every section of the film’s many divisions. Story, casting, settings, photography, clothes, acting, should all bespeak one mind. The director owes the audience an explanation. You have to make what you’re trying to say understandable. What good is it if no one understands it? The scene doesn’t have to be real. We deal with illusion, and the job of director is to control the illusion.”


What Got This Director Here?
: The Crowd.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: The Crowd.

What Did I Watch: Street Scene.

Where Does He Fit: King Vidor’s The Crowd was a primordial masterpiece, but the power of his sound version of the same subject is not to be ignored despite some hammy acting. New York City is stuck in the middle of a heat wave, and the immigrant neighborhood is not enjoying each other’s company in the idealized melting pot that has been painted with rose colored glasses. Gossip begets jealousy, which leads to racism, then adultery, and finally murder. Life is a slippery slope when you are stuck in the same spot as all the other people who are at the bottom of the heap. It’s as American as you can get in this short time.

street-scene-1931-04-g

Most Valuable Asset: Power of the people.
Most Excited For: Beyond the Forest.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes.

Coming Up Next: Ken Loach, agitator and two time Palme winner.

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