Human history is full of moments when collective effort was needed to address public concerns. And the history of films is full of examples when the medium was used to rally collective effort. Such movies never failed to get the attention of people and stir them to action.
The ability of movies to influence mass audiences has been made use of for a long time. Since the 30s and the 40s movies were used to glorify western culture, to strengthen religion and faith, to celebrate freedom, to decry communism and collectivism and to extol individual achievement and the American Dream.
For many Americans the 1930s was a period of contradiction. What started out as the land of dreams was slowly playing out as a land of nightmares. Democracy, capitalism, individualism and the optimism that was based on them were all proving to be myths. Milk, honey and the good life were all mere dreams; reality was a dire struggle for survival. You simply had to see it to believe that such suffering could have existed in America. (Sutton)
In the decades that preceded the 1930s settlers from the North and East flocked to the southern plains lured by the promise of an abundance of fertile soil and a happy life. The first few years looked as if they were on the way to achieving their dream. And then came a period of extended drought, which arguably is the worst drought of America.
It was a double whammy of sorts. ...