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Of Mice and Men
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  • Live off the fat of the land
    John Steinbeck's masterful story of friendship is definitively brought to screen in Lewis Milestone's 1939 OF MICE AND MEN. This is a terrific movie, essential viewing for anyone with a tolerance for black and white. The story is so universal and cleanly told this one is hard not to become deeply engrossed in.
    Lon Chaney Jr., rightfully, is the chief reason we remember this movie. He nails the role of the feeble-minded Lennie, who wants nothing more than to tend his rabbits. I've never seen this movie before, and I was surprised at how effective Burgess Meredith was as Lennie's friend and protector, George. If Chaney steals most of the scenes he's in, Meredith is the reliable engine, grounded in humanity, that draws us in.
    OF MICE AND MEN has been remade once, in 1992, in a production starring John Malkovich and Gary Sinise. For all of Malkovich's talents, I still prefer Chaney's performance. More importantly, the 1939 production was contemporaneous with Steinbeck's novel. If the latter movie is a period piece, the 1939 version is current events, and that does make a difference.
    Get out the hankies and get ready to be deeply moved. An essential movie.
    ...more info
  • Magnificent Slice-of-Life Tale
    1939's Of Mice And Men is a beautiful film. I enjoyed it from frame 1 through its heartbreaking finish. For those who remember Burgess Meredith as only a villain in the Batman TV series of the 1960s, they should take a good look at this moving, splendid motion picture (with a fine performance by Mr. Meredith).

    It's hard to envision a more engaging movie. 1939 sure produced some great ones, and this just might be the cream of the crop....more info

  • Chaney's Crowning Achievement
    This is the legendary film that brought Lon Chaney Jr. to star status with his portrayal of dim-witted Lenny. Great story, great cinematography, great performances by Burgess Meredith as Lenny's "guardian", Charles Bickford and former cowboy star Bob Steele as the cruel Curly. Plot in a nutshell: George & Lenny are drifters, landing a job at a ranch and dreaming of the day when they own their own ranch, complete with a dozen rabbits for Lenny to take care of. Curly's wife flirts with the ranch hands, especially Bickford, which causes confrontations with Curly and the ultimate tragic ending. If you are a fan of Warner Brothers cartoons, you may be familiar with their over-usage of Chaney's Lenny in their films: "gee, George"..."whadja say, George?"..."I wouldn't hurt 'im, George"..."George is my friend"...you remember, right? Films can hardly get more classic than this. Do yourself a favor...add this to your collection!...more info
  • Still the best version of this classic story
    In an earlier life I was an actor and I was in "of Mice and Men" in a stage production a number of years ago. Since then I have made the show somnething of a hobby. This is the best version I have seen. The acting is wonderful, the movie is at once alarming and touching, warming and frightening. If you love Steinbeck and want to see his works the way they should be presented, this is the "Of Mice and Men" to own....more info
  • They don't make them like this any more.
    Haughtingly beautiful and brilliant in every dimension. It's too bad Americans can't handle movies like this or "To Kill A Mockingbird" anymore. There is so much to learn and experience from them. I saw both of these movies when I was very young in junior high school. I can't imagine the "trophy kids" of today trying to comprehend and appreciate the message of these classics. ...more info
  • of mice and men
    Wonderful acting,with a very good story line.I felt Lon Chaney should have received a Oscar for a fine performence....more info
  • Great Film Adaptation Of A Great Novel
    Of all the television and theatrical releases that have followed, none have reached the perfect cast of this 1939 classic. Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney Jr. in their finest roles. Where were the Academy Award nominations for these two outstanding performances? Lon Chaney Jr's final scene was worth more than what's his name's entire bore in "Goodbye Mr. Chips". ZZZZZZZZZ! Portrayals just as imagined from Steinbeck's novel....more info
  • An American classic
    Of Mice and Men unfortunately gets lost among other great films of 1939 such as Gone With the Wind, Stagecoach, Wuthering Heights and The Wizard of Oz. However this poignant portrayal of the Depression era West stands tall in its moral values and simplicity.

    George and Lennie are itinerant farm workers hoboing there way through the west. The sharp minded leader George played superbly by Burgess Meredith has been looking after the dim witted beast of burden Lennie for years. He has crafted a scenario where they will accumulate enough money to buy a place of their own. He promises Lennie, who has a patholgic affinity for stroking soft things, that he will be able to tend the soft furry rabbits. Lennie makes George repeat their plans time and time again never tiring of the story.

    They find work on a barley farm but soon the uncontrollable Lennie gets into trouble and their plans get altered.

    Lon Chaney Jr. was obnoxiously fantastic as the mentally challenged Lenny. Burgess Meredith once again proves that he is one of the greatest character actors to ever have appeared on the American screen....more info

  • Lost in 1939
    Amidst the turbulent sea of box office smashes on 1939 like Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, not to mention the start of WWII, this black and white masterpiece seemed to have been past beneath the waves. It is such a classic that the acting remains believable even today, 65 years later. Don't believe me, just try to sit through the scene wherein all in the bunkhouse await the 'end' of poor ol Candy's dog who is put to sleep with the gun of a cagey ranchhand. Alot of films this old lose their believibilty and lustre, but Burgess Merideth and Lon Chaney Jr prove two hard acts to follow. This VHS perhaps is one of the best in my library....more info
  • Of Mice and Men: Of Lenny and Loneliness
    The America of the 1930s was a hodgepodge of geography, but the terrain that most movie audiences could relate to was either Tara from GONE WITH THE WIND or the bitter dust bowls of the parched west. Director Lewis Milestone perfectly caught this sense of dry dust mingled with human walls of self-constructed isolation in the filmed version of John Steinbeck's OF MICE AND MEN. America was still caught in the tail end of a decade long depression that seemed quite capable of extending itself for yet another. Since America was not yet involved in Europe's troubles, it was natural for Hollywood to focus on internal matters that reflected the dust that seemed to settle everywhere. Lenny Small (Lon Chaney, Jr) and George Milton (Burgess Meredith) symbolized the alienation between man and an uncaring society. Bindlestiffs like them existed only as punching bags for anyone with a grudge to settle. The only solution for forced isolation was to painfully build an enduring relation with someone who cared. As Lenny tells George incessantly about how 'I got you and you got me,' the viewers could see that maybe he was right.
    Lenny and George are two tramps who seek only a place to call their own. To George, land is physical; it will provide security against the uncertainties of a dust bowl existence. To Lenny, land is internal; it is more of a time than a place. It represents a time to pet rabbits and feel the closeness engendered by the proximity of those rabbits to George. Both are fleeing from the rape charges shouted out by a woman in the previous town against the hulking, dim-witted Lenny. All Lenny wanted was to pet a pretty thing. Both escape to find work on a ranch, but the loneliness that plagued them as a pair on the road they learn afflicts others too. Nearly everyone on the ranch is isolated in one way or another. The most tragic loneliness is the one belonging to Mae, the neglected wife of Curly, whose own loneliness forces him to seek meaningful contact with his fists. Mae is a sexy flirt who might have been happy with a man who could have torn down the high walls of her own isolation, but Curly simply builds them higher as he makes sure that his jealousy keeps her increasingly deprived of human contact. Mae reaches out to the uncomprehending Lenny, and in her words to him of her need to impact on others, the audience can see that a twin set of monologues does not add up to a dialogue. Each is talking at not to one another. Lenny touches her hair and becomes excited enough not to hear her protests. He breaks her neck, and all he knows is that George will know that he 'done a bad thing.' The climax occurs when George finds Lenny hiding but is aware that a vigilante posse is just minutes away. George understands that the only service that one friend can do for the other is to kill Lenny. The scene that George kills Lenny is one of the most heart-rending in film. George again conjures up the mystery time and place that will let Lenny find a cure for his isolation. As George speaks, Lenny responds and for a brief moment actually is transported to the rabbit warren. The gunshot, like the reverberations of the horns that tumbled the walls of Jericho, similarly restore the isolation that had always been the status quo of all concerned.
    OF MICE AND MEN is noteworthy for many reasons, but an often unappreciated factor is the movie's point of view. Lenny, rather than George, is seen as the protagonist. He is in nearly every scene, and he is the focus of discussion when he is not. The audience tends to see the action from his perspective, even if George is the one who performs as a chorus, interpreting it. The movie seems to suggest that while the walls of isolation are high indeed, the need to break them down is one that lies in the souls of all concerned. Just ask Mae or Lenny....more info
  • A CLASSIC FROM 1939
    OF MICE AND MEN might have been written for the stage: it naturally falls into scene divisions, with a lot of its drama presented in dialogue. Director Lewis Milestone, in making this film, broke that almost inevitable mold, rehandled the material and made it move in the flow-eddy-flow style of the screen and yet kept the essentials of events and characters true to their author's conception, which was, in itself the director's triumph. The story about two unfortunate men who dreamed a dream of having a home of their own, with a garden to eat from, working for themselves with no boss to rout them out of bed in the morning, the privilege of loafing or going to the circus without anyone's permission......Just "bindle stiffs", migratory farm workers tramping from job to job, this dream meant heaven-on-earth to them, but things happened, those fatal things that can't be called anyone's fault, and their plans went astray. As the painfully pathetic Lennie, Lon Chaney, Jr. had the role of his career (his WOLFMAN is decidedly a close second). Milestone soft-peddled Lennie to a considerable degree, and toned down a lot of Steinbeck's violence, to say nothing of his profanity. The unique Burgess Merideth is fine as George while the underrated Betty Field does commendable work as the flirtatious Mae. Steinbeck's tragedy was theatrical but Milestone and Eugene Solow's script gave it dignity, inevitability and an unusual strain of excitement....more info
  • Of Mice and Men
    Mine came from Overman2000 and is very, very good - both video and audio. Highly recommended....more info