Alpha Video

Our Daily Bread

Starring: Karen Morley & Tom Keene Director: King Vidor
Depression-era family in the mid-west leaves the city to work on a farm -- an uplifting American classic in the tradition of "The Grapes Of Wrath."
Rating 4.0
10 ratings
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Item:  ALP 4428D
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DVD Features:

  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 13 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1934
  • Label: Alpha Video
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
  • Packaging: Keep Case
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Cinematography by
Composition by
Directed by
Director of Photography:
Edited by
Music by
Performer: , , , , &
Produced by
Screenwriting by , &
Starring &

Entertainment Reviews:

Sight and Sound - 01/01/2000
"...Rousing fare..."

Description by OLDIES.com:

"A social document of amazing vitality and emotional impact!" - The New York Times

Lost souls, haunted by vice, seek a better future on an gritty "back to the land" commune in King Vidor's Great Depression epic drama. Idle masons, plumbers and carpenters are put to work creating, while former white-collar professionals are retrained in the art of manual labor. But all utopias have a dark side. Despite the overriding pioneering spirit; lust, proffering and deceit tarnish the ideals of the freethinking farmers while frustration and hopelessness corrode their dreams. The earthy love of a good woman inspires a sweeping climax as the community is forced to work together or face ruin.

A mid-period film by legendary director King Vidor (The Big Parade, Street Scene, Duel In The Sun), Our Daily Bread is evocative depression-era propaganda, made outside the mainstream studio system, as a way of inspiring thousand of dissolute moviegoers looking for a way out of poverty.

Product Description:

Another example of King Vidor's preference for the simple virtues of rural life, this film's advocacy of collectivism might seem to give the theme a political twist, although it was attacked by elements of both the left and the right. Set during the Great Depression, OUR DAILY BREAD stars Tom Keene and Karen Morley as John and Mary Sims, a couple who decides to leave the city to work a plot of land given them by Mary's uncle. In due time they're joined by a number of other people marginalized by the depression until they eventually find themselves with a working cooperative farm. When John expresses a willingness to give over the control he's been exercising to the other co-op members--except for one dissenting voice--they affirm his leadership. Predictably, problems begin to present themselves. The co-op is unable to get a bank loan and must struggle along on so little that even the stalwart John becomes despondent--so much so that he temporarily takes off with Sally (Barbara Pepper), a woman who has been energetically pursuing him. A film made outside studio control with a cast of mostly nonprofessionals, OUR DAILY BREAD remains a fascinating document of the time. Particularly notable is the concluding sequence that features the rhythmic, Eisensteinian editing of the digging of an emergency irrigation ditch.

Plot Synopsis:

Filmed during the apex of the depression, the film follows an ordinary urban couple as they take posession of a rural farm that gradually sprouts a diverse community of depression-stricken idealists.

Plot Keywords:

Family Interaction | Poverty | Social Issues | Vintage

Production Notes:

  • Theatrical release: Aug. 1, 1934.
  • Shooting location: Tarzana, CA.
  • Vidor, unable to get studio backing for the project, largely financed it himself, with some help from Charlie Chaplin.

Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

Customer Rating: Rating 4.0
Based on 10 ratings.
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Rating 4.0 Two of Vidor's Greatest Scenes Movie Lover: from Walnut Creek, CA US -- January, 24, 2009

The beginning and the end of the movie have two of director King Vidor's greatest scenes- the bill collector singing on his way up the stairs, and the irrigation scene at the end with a socialist message of working together. This DCD is a passable copy of one of the greats from the Great Depression. The movie was awarded a Lenin Prize at a Moscow film festival; Chaplin's rescue financing of the project was used against him in later anti-communist witch hunts.


Rating 4.0 Dated, flawed, but powerful Movie Lover: from Richmond, VA US -- April, 24, 2004

This depresssion flick has a disappointing, moralistic (Hayes-mandated,) and simplistic (Hollywood-styled)plot that plods ... building ever so slowly,to its climactic final sequence. But, my goodness, what a powerful and moving ending! You may actually cheer the men and women, working together to overcome their travail. After an hour of viewing formulaic nonsense, this scene will surprise, alert and move you: the last ten minutes makes it all worthwhile. (It was once suggested that it was a communistic (really communal)effort to rouse the nation, to save all thoses who struggled, endured, and wanted a solution.) Perhaps so.

This movie is certainly not a Grapes of Wrath, but it belongs in the same genre of movies that try to explain and suggest a route out of the Great Depression. BTW: Where is "Wild Children of the Road"?


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Product Info:

  • Sales Rank: 9,284
  • UPC: 089218442895
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
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Film Collectors & Archivists: Alpha Video is actively looking for rare and unusual pre-1943 motion pictures, in good condition, from Monogram, PRC, Tiffany, Chesterfield, and other independent studios for release on DVD. We are also interested in TV shows from the early 1950s. Share your passion for films with a large audience. Let us know what you have.