HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
Claudine
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
   
 
Newest Articles
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
   
 
  Of Mice and Men Hope Against HopeBuy this film here.
Year: 1939
Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney Jr, Betty Field, Charles Bickford, Roman Bohnen, Bob Steele, Noah Beery Jr, Oscar O'Shea, Granville Bates, Leigh Whipper, Helen Lynd
Genre: Drama
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: George (Burgess Meredith) and Lennie (Lon Chaney Jr) are two travelling workmen on the run from a lynch mob. When they manage to shake off their pursuers, it's time to start again, and George secures work permits for them both. Lennie is simple-minded, you see, and relies on George to get him through life, but he has a knack of getting them both into trouble. He doesn't mean to, it's the way things turn out over and over again, not that this stops them from moving on every time in the hope that their luck will turn. They both have a dream of their own farm - will it come true for them this time?

The film that launched a hundred Tex Avery cartoons, Of Mice and Men was adapted from John Steinbeck's classic novel by Eugene Solow, an improbable film from comedy expert Hal Roach's studios. Unlike many films taken from revered sources, this version faithfully evoked the unadorned tragedy of the original story and effectively captured its essence, thanks to sympathetic direction from Lewis Milestone and some excellent performances. Burgess Meredith had played George on the stage many times, and had the part perfected, but considering the type of work he would largely end up in it was Lon Chaney Jr who really proved he had a great performance in him.

Such a pity it was at the start of his career, and he would quickly be typecast in horror and western roles that didn't stretch him but rather placed him in the shadow of his father. As Lennie, he is heartbreaking, a sweet natured manchild who doesn't know his own strength, all to his cost in the cruel world he is trapped in. Only George is there to help him through, but alas George can't always be there to keep his charge out of trouble. After they escape the mob, the pair end up on a bus to a new ranch, though the driver lets them out ten miles before their stop when George gets impatient with him.

So they take the time to camp out under the stars by a river, and George tells Lennie that if he should get into trouble again, this is the place to run to and hide. Lennie doesn't remember much, but he recalls everything George tells him, including their dream of owning their own farm sometime in the future where Lennie can breed rabbits: he does love to pet soft things, like the dead bird he has in his pocket which his friend exasperatedly throws away. When they reach the ranch, Lennie recognises right away that it's not a good place for them to be, but like everyone there, they need the money.

Everyone in the film is frustrated in one way or another, but George's plans give hope to a couple of the men there: Candy (Roman Bohnen), an elderly worker who keeps an equally elderly dog which the others want him to put down even though it will crush him, and Crooks (Leigh Whipper) a marginalised black worker whose cynicism is tempered by his wish to join George's establishment. But uh-oh, here comes trouble in the shape of Curley's wife (Betty Field) who would be a character coloured by misogyny if it weren't for the heartfelt emotions of a woman throwing away her best years when she wants to leave and see life. Son of the boss Curley (Bob Steele) is a nasty piece of work who takes an instant dislike to almost everyone, but Lennie in particular; it's a measure of the film's bleakness that we can sense the painfully impending doom even as the characters prepare for better times. But the conclusion is, a lot of the time dreams don't come true, especially during the Depression. Music by Aaron Copland.

[Arrow's Region 2 DVD has no extras, but the film is a classic of dejection if you want to feel miserable.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 5436 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Lewis Milestone  (1895 - 1980)

Born Lev Milstein, Lewis Milestone emigrated from Russia at the end of World War One, where he broke into film-making by directing training films for the US army. After several years working as an assistant director, Milestone was given his first directing gig by Howard Hughes, and in 1928 won the Oscar for Best Director of a Comedy Picture at the first ever Academy Awards for Two Arabian Knights. Over the next three decades, Milestone directed such classics as All Quiet on the Western Front, The Front Page, Of Mice and Men, Pork Chop Hill, A Walk in the Sun, plus the enjoyably rubbish rat packer Ocean's 11.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: