Marc in jail with his characters and his imaginary helpmates: his late wife and Bertolt Brecht
But the best part of the movie is the entire ending sequence. Everyone arrives at the theatre to find the doors padlocked and armed soldiers guarding the door. They sneak in a window to the backstage and begin to try and find a plan B. Ironicly, once they find a new theatre, they are told that the Musicians' and Actors' Unions have forbidden them from performing on any other stage. Still, they decide to go on with the show, having Blitzstein basically do all of the parts. So, they announce it to the crowd, and begin to lead them on a walk to the new theatre.
Houseman, Blitzstein, and Welles worry as they walk
It all comes down to this one performance. Most of the actors go, but even going to the performance, they run the chance of losing their jobs. So they are faced with a decision.
Blitzstein at the piano
This movie is brilliant. I love live theatre, and I love its power, but in the case of Cradle Will Rock, we can never again experience the thrill of this first show. First of all, the show is so much about its time, that has become dated. On top of that, the show itself has changed because of that first performance. It is now a historical piece with a lore to it. This event is famous in the world of the theatre - and no show can ever capture what this first performance had because of the circumstances surrounding its opening. This movie gives us the chance to experience the electricity of that moment in time; the importance, the passion, the politics.
Design-wise. This is wonderfully done. Re-creating life in New York in the 1930s (both the rich and the poor worlds) is not easy, but they do it so well. Also - they are recreating historical places and events that were recorded in one way or another. Especially the theatre you see. I love seeing the Faustus bits, because that also is the stuff of theatre legend.
Acting-wise, it is phenomenal. I mean, look at the cast! I can not say enough about it. So I will stop there. Everyone is fantastic.
There are so many reasons I love this movie. Everytime I watch it, I get so caught up. I've seen it at least a hundred times, and I find myself tearing up in those last minutes. There is a moment in the play when Silvano is making a speech and the entire theatre is quiet. Everyone in the audience is on the edge of their seats - living, not only with the characters they are watching, but with the actors who have been placed in this amazing situation and are doing what they do best with all the defiance, fire, strength, and passion they have.
And I'm starting to tear up as I write about it. I'm crazy. As far as I know, this won no major awards, but I don't care. You seriously, see this movie. And if you want to see it, watch it with me!
5 out of 5 stars