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Thursday, August 11, 2022
As with his earlier adaptation of La Bohème, Vidor begins Our Daily Bread with a rent collector knocking on the door. Like so many others during the Depression, John and Mary Sims find themselves in desperate circumstances. They take Mary’s uncle up on his offer to live on a derelict farm that’s soon to be foreclosed upon, but the couple, unfortunately, have no experience behind a plow. John then has the inspired idea of inviting other out-of-work tradesmen to come live off the land with them, working it cooperatively and sharing their resources. No mere message film, Our Daily Bread remains a tremendously moving portrait of solidarity and mutual aid, thanks in part to Vidor’s technical virtuosity. Few other directors could locate a thrilling drama in the construction of an irrigation canal.