Cradle Will Rock

"Very Good"

Cradle Will Rock Review


Arguably, one of the best directors of the motion picture industry, Orson Welles was once quoted as saying, "When I die, they'll be picking over my creative bones. The films will suddenly get financing; the films will get restored. Old scripts that we couldn't get financed, they'll find the financing for some kid to direct."

Strangely enough, Welles couldn't have been more prophetic.

Actor Tim Robbins has donned the writer/director hat for his mostly-true depiction of the wild chain of events surrounding one of Welles' more notable career setbacks.

In 1937, Welles, along with his co-producer John Houseman directed a musical catering to the mass of unemployed people designed to help them cope with living though the depression era. The musical, entitled The Cradle Will Rock was a strong pro-union, stab at big business, encouraging the common man to stand up for what he believed in. Unfortunately for Welles, 1937 was not just the tail end of the depression, it was also an era rich with the paranoia of communist sympathizers and a growing tension between socialism and fascism. The musical was quickly accused of being communist propaganda and was closed by the military on the night it was to open.

Not missing a beat and standing true to the adage that "the show must go on" the cast of the musical marched to a smaller theater some 20 blocks away and performed the musical in front of a packed audience without the use of sets, props or even costumes. Union rules at the time prevented them from even performing on a stage.

Robbins' film makes it clear early on that this film is less of a portrayal of the actual events surrounding the fateful musical and more of a satirical look at the sum of its parts. The characters are more like caricature and it seems clear that Robbins had a bit of an ax to grind towards Welles. Angus MacFadyen (Braveheart, The Rat Pack) portrays Welles as a money-grubbing, pretentious, drunkard, (alright, so maybe that wasn't so far from the truth). In one scene at a night club, the playwright (played by Hank Azaria) goes so far as to question Welles' loyalty to the art by asking, "How soon before you are doing soap commercials?" -- an obvious stab at his Ernest and Julio Gallo commercials from the 80's.

This film seems slow and confusing at the start but warms up nicely as it goes along, thanks to the talents of a surprisingly large and impressive cast. There are several really blatant pieces of symbolism throughout the film, and there are a few odd moments that leave you thinking that you just missed something. However, Tim Robbins does a great job of tying all of this neurotic, erratic hypertension together in the end so that it inevitably tells a story of hope and survival for such an often taken-for-granted ideal as freedom of speech.

The film is witty, entertaining and different. Unfortunately, due to an acute case of cinematic intelligence, infected with meager support from Buena Vista Pictures, this movie will most-likely be overlooked by the majority of moviegoing audiences while they opt for the bigger, flashier, and easier-to-understand blockbuster flicks being released for the Christmas season.

But if you happen to find yourself in front of one of those old, small, artsy theaters, I would recommend stopping in and checking this film out.

Hail, Cradle.



Cradle Will Rock

Facts and Figures

Run time: 132 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 12th April 2000

Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures

Production compaines: Touchstone Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Fresh: 44 Rotten: 24

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Marc Blitzsetin, as Diego Rivera, as Hazel Huffman, as Nelson Rockefeller, as Tommy Crickshaw, as Aldo Silvano, as Olive Stanton, as Blitzstein - 'Joe Worker' Singer

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.