Thursday, June 14, 2012

Best Chatsworth Movies -- The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

The Grapes of Wrath (1940) is a drama based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel written by John Steinbeck.  The screenplay was written by Nunnally Johnson (who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing), and the executive producer was Darryl F. Zanuck.

It's one of the best films ever directed by John Ford--for which he won the Oscar in 1941 for Best Director.  In typical Ford fashion he draws out tension between people as defines relationships with an extraordinary cast of characters. 


The The Grapes of Wrath is a story about the Joad family from Oklahoma. They have lost their farm during the Great Depression in the 1930s, and become migrant farm workers as they travel to California.

The motion picture describes their difficult and dangerous trip--along Route 66--as they travel west to California in search of a new home.

Henry Fonda as Tom Joad
Russell Simpson as Pa Joad
Jane Darwell as Ma Joad
John Carradine as Jim Casy, former preacher
Charley Grapewin as Grandpa William James Joad
Zeffie Tilbury as Grandma Joad
Frank Darien as Uncle John Joad
Dorris Bowdon as Rose-of-Sharon "Rosasharn" Rivers
O.Z. Whitehead as Al Joad
Frank Sully as Noah Joad
Darryl Hickman as Winfield Joad
Shirley Mills as Ruthie Joad
Eddie Quillan as Connie Rivers, husband of Rosasharn
John Qualen as Muley Graves, neighbor in Oklahoma
Roger Imhof as Mr. Thomas, ditch employer
Grant Mitchell as Manager of government camp
Charles D. Brown as Wilkie, boy lookout at dance
John Arledge as Davis, bulldozer driver
Ward Bond as Friendly Policeman, Bakersfield
Eddie Waller as Proprietor
Max Wagner as Guard

The film was nominated for Best Picture at the 1941 Academy Awards.  Jane Darwell (above right) won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and Henry Fonda (above left) was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

The Grapes of Wrath (1940) was one of the first 25 films to be chosen (in 1989) by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry because it is "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

While the film was lensed at more than a dozen and a half locations it does include some rich scenes filmed on the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth.  The movie still at the beginning of this post is from a scene when the Joads finally arrive in California--what they are looking at is Chatsworth.

For more information about the Chatsworth filming locations visit and learn about my books: Rendezvous at Boulder Pass: Hollywood's Fantasyland © 2010 (ISBN: 978-0-615-21522-8) and Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas © 2008 (ISBN: 978-0-615-21499-3)

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