Wednesday, October 6, 2010


The Cradle Will Rock  is mentioned in the opening chapter of  Bob Dylan in America.  In this chapter, Wilentz tries to capture the spirit of the Popular Front in America at the time, which many of the persons who were involved in the play were a part of, as noted in this book reference.  Marc Blitzstein originally conceived the play for the Federal Theater Project, but Hallie Flanagan pulled the plug when pressure mounted against the production.  Orson Welles and John Houseman stepped in with their own money and saved the play from obscurity.  In 1999, a movie was made that dramatized the events surrounding the play.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for expanding into this subject, gintaras, but I dare not get started on the subject of Blitzstein, Houseman, Welles, Flanagan and the Federal Theater and collateral issues such as the appropriate role of gov't in funding the arts and how to get it without censorship when art criticizes gov't. itself, not to mention private patronage for the arts with its own issues as illustrated by the Diego Rivera vs. Rockefeller story Robbins tried to tell in "The Cradle Will Rock" movie, and as an aside within an aside, did I say how much I enjoyed and recommend Kingsolver's "The Lacuna"?

    Uh-oh, it seems a certain kind of free association posting is catching. I'll let up, but thanks again.

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  2. I'll have to check out the movie, NYT. I find that era fascinating.

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  3. Sounds like a very interesting movie. I just watched a clip of it on youtube and will have to watch the rest of it.

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  4. I watched the movie last night and enjoyed it. The acting was a bit over the top at times, especially the depictions of Welles and Houseman, but I thought Tim Robbins did a great job of capturing a feeling for the era. Really liked Bill Murray's sad-faced ventriloquist. Summed up the end of Vaudeville perfectly.

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  5. Glad you watched it, Gintaras. I re-watched it after the play was mentioned in the book and enjoyed it as much the second time as I did the first. Thought they did a nice job using the play as a backdrop to the story of the play. Entertaining polemic.

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