Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on a good man must know one song by heart. A gripping story set in 1929 about a family of three. The father leaves home for New York to work there along with his friends as members of a band. The band becomes popular at that area, and pay becomes even better. Way back home, the ten-year old son and his mother alternates time among playing piano, strolling around the vicinity, and cooking food. The situation forces the son to look for his father bringing only with him a song that his father taught him years ago.The film’s narration played as a flashback starting out promisingly in what is supposed to be an abandoned area in New York, where the son is shown to be cuddling his father while humming a tune. The father was looking aimlessly at nowhere in his tattered suits, while the son looked simple in his pants and jacket. The transition to the next scene was poignant and dramatic because the succeeding scene was beautifully juxtaposed with the previous scene. In the second scene, the father was seen cuddling his son while singing the song “While My Baby Lulls in a Hammock.” The mother entered the scene, and then all at once, the audience was introduced to all the principal characters of the film. But just when you are expecting things to get even better, as the film tried to give the audience an idea of the setting and the zeitgeist of the story, the film slowed down and devoted too much time to the protagonists’ uneventful music sessions. There, the film accommodated half of the total number of songs-there were ten-that were supposed to be played in the entire film. While the film’s first half tried your patience, it picked up speed as the focus shifted to where it should be: New York and the specter of the Great Depression.
There were two significant events between the period of 1925 and 1935 that were woven into or depicted in the film:
1) The movie’s moral crackdown in 1934-Due to the newly-enforced rigorous production code courtesy of Will Hays, the film’s dialogues, song lyrics, and the presentation of the visuals were seemingly sanitized. Rumor has it that several lines-including “Mother, do you think is it acceptable for Father if I were to fall in love with someone, but not marry her”-were intentionally omitted during the post-production to suit the taste of the members of the so-called Legion of Decency. As a result of this, the film in its entirety was devoid of any shocking but commercially appealing dialogue and situations. Instead, unnecessary optimism pervaded all throughout in its less than 90-minute run. Such existential optimism was manifested in script like “Do not worry son. Your father will soon find his way to us.”
2) The ushering of the Great Depression in 1929-discussions among bankers visiting the club where the father plays centered on the issue of Wall Street’s fall. Although, the site of Wall Street was never included in any of the scenes, the actors really talked about blue chips like Standard Oil and Westinghouse, and the plummeting values of the shares of White Sewing Machine with ease that one could have an impression that bankers who were forced to resign from financial institutions were acquired as actors.
One critic said that there was a visible effort on the part of the filmmakers to show that this film had set the bar high in terms of visuals, sounds, and historical accuracy. Although the visuals, through camerawork, hardly moved to prevent the scratches made by camera from being recorded, the actors’ faces registered clearly and properly projected to create an impression of a depressing scenario. The sounds consisted of a few songs of longing and melancholia and crisp and concise audible (and inaudible) dialogue.