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The Crowd

(silent 1928 b 93')

En: 6 Ed: 7

A young couple in New York struggles to make their marriage work, especially after he loses his job.

A baby is born on July 4, 1900. In 1912 John Sims is told that his father died. In 1921 John Sims (James Murray) arrives in New York and works at a desk in a large office in a tall building. After work Bert (Bert Roach) offers John a double date with Jane (Estelle Clark) and Mary (Eleanor Boardman). They ride a bus to Coney Island and go on rides. John kisses Mary. On the way home he suggests marriage.

John and Mary say goodbye to her family and take a train. Men laugh at John getting ready for bed. John and Mary visit Niagara Falls on their honeymoon. They get an apartment by an elevated train track, and her family visits. Her mother (Lucy Beaumont) asks John if he got a raise yet. He runs out of liquor and goes to borrow some from Bert, who is having a party. Drunk Bert and John walk back, and John finds Mary in bed.

In April, John asks Mary to get the toilet fixed. They quarrel, and she starts packing but stops when he goes out. She calls him back and gives him the news that she is expecting. He is tender to her. In October he gets a call at work and goes to the hospital. Mary is in a large ward, and a nurse brings her baby. John promises to be somebody.

Five years later they have two children, and John got an $8 raise. At the beach Mary cuts her finger, and Junior (Freddie Burke Frederick) gets sand on the cake. John says he will get somewhere, but Mary does not believe it.

John wins a $500 prize for a cleaning slogan. He and Mary jump for joy, but their little girl is hit by a truck. John asks her family to wait quietly, but street noises can't be stopped. The child dies. Mary cries, and John is frantic. At work he remembers his girl, and his work is poor. He quits but does not tell Mary until they are on a boat for the company picnic.

John sells vacuum cleaners door to door and quits. Mary sews dresses. Her brothers offer John a job, but he declines charity. Mary hits him. He goes out and considers suicide. Junior wants to play with him and gives him hope. A hundred jobs are offered, but John is too late. However, he gets a job juggling and wearing a sign. He tells Mary, who is leaving with her brothers. John gives her flowers and tickets for a theater. He puts on a record, and they dance. In the final scene they are laughing while sitting in a crowded theater.

This realistic drama portrays modern life in a big city where so many people find themselves being part of the crowd in order to get along. Ironically the actor James Murray found his life so much like his best role that he became an alcoholic and apparently committed suicide in New York in 1936.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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