Behind the Scenes of The Grapes of Wrath

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Director John Ford won his second Academy Award for Best Director for his work in The Grapes of Wrath. He believed in the story and was pleased with the script.

He said, “The whole thing appealed to me – being about simple people – and the story was similar to the famine in Ireland, when they threw people off the land and left them wandering on the roads to survive.”

Ford and Henry Fonda worked on nine films together. They did three films in succession – Young Mr. Lincoln, Drums Along the Mohawk, and The Grapes of Wrath.

According to Fonda, Ford had an interesting way of choosing his cast. He said, “He cast actors if they were good card players.”

The actors didn’t wear makeup so they looked cold and hard, just like the story itself.

Jane Darwell won her first and only Academy Award for her peformance.

Dorris Bowdon said, “Jane Darwell and I had become friends. She was so warm and helpful to a young actress. She would tell me things and warn me about things with John [Ford]. She knew his temperament. I loved her very much."

Producer Darryl F. Zanuck wanted the Joad's truck to sound authentic in the film, so he had a replica created. Extra weight was then added to it, so it would sound heavier. A six-man crew then drove it around in Oklahoma to record the bumps and gear-shifting sounds.

Above Zanuck and his wife, Virginia Fox, attend the premiere at Los Angeles' Star Theatre.