In 1932 King Vidor decided to make a film “inspired by the headlines of today.” Many of those headlines described plant closings (idling 40% of industrial capacity and throwing millions of men and women out of work); farm foreclosures (ejecting millions of farm families from the land and reducing agricultural production); militant strikes involving increasing numbers of California agricultural workers; the veterans’ Bonus Army in Washington D.C. (camped near the Capitol and dispersed by Douglas MacArthur’s troops); FDR’s first campaign and election. Continue reading
Speaking to their 1953 convention, Screenwriter Michael Wilson invited members of the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers to think back over the movies they had seen since World War II:
“Can you recall one Hollywood film that deals with the life of a trade union?
Can you recall one that dealt honestly with the problems of a working man or
woman? …Or take the case of the Spanish-speaking people of the Southwest…
Can you recall any picture that has dealt honestly with their lives and traditions
and aspirations? Merely to ask this question is to answer it.” Continue reading
Tonight’s film is based on an actual strike that took place in 1968 when women machinists at Dagenham, Ford’s largest plant in the UK, were reclassified unskilled and their pay was reduced. They did shut down the plant; they did meet with Minister Barbara Castle, Labour’s ‘Red Queen;’ and settlement of their strike did influence passage of Britain’s Equal Pay Act of 1970. Continue reading