Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Capsule Review: "A Corner in Wheat"
One of the most densely packed short films of the silent movie era, "A Corner in Wheat" (DW. Griffith, 1909) is a cogent and evocative critique of an entire economic system in just fifteen minutes. The film's clashing montage depicts the differing lifestyles and interactions of two economic groups: the rich and the poor. The actions of a wheat speculator who goes on to become a wheat monopolist deprive the poor of food. However, he too meets an unfortunate end when he falls into a wheat silo. Griffith conveys the plot and ideas of the film entirely through images. Of note are the images that bracket the film. The former of these shows two laborers working a wheat field. The latter, capturing the consequences of the wheat monopolist's actions, shows only one, even more downtrodden laborer working the field. "A Corner in Wheat" is available for free on YouTube, here.