Forgotten Village : Life in a Mexican Village

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-07-08
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
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The novelist who wrote The Grapes of Wrathand the director who produced Crisis and Lights Outin Europe combined their superb talents to tell the story of the coming of modern medicine to the natives of Mexico. There have been several notable examples of this pen-camera method of narration, but The Forgotten Villageis unique among them in that the text was written before a single picture was shot. The book and the movie from which it was made have, thus, a continuity and a dramatic growth not to be found in the so-called "documentary" films. The camera crew that, headed by Kline and with Steinbeck's script at hand, recorded this narrative of birth and death, of witch doctors and vaccines, of the old Mexico and the new, spent nine months off the trails of Mexico. They traveled thousands of miles to find just the village they needed; they borrowed children from the government school, took men from the fields, their wives from the markets, and old medicine woman from her hut by the side of the trail. The motion picture they made (for release in 1941) is 8000 feet long. From this wealth of pictures 136 photographs were selected for their intrinsic beauty and for the graceful harmony with which they accompany Steinbeck's text. This new script-photograph technique of narration conveys its ideas with unexcelled brilliance and immediacy. In the hands of such master story-tellers as Steinbeck and Kline, it makes the reader catch his breath for the beauty and the truth of the tale.

Author Biography

John Steinbeck (1902-1968) was born in Salinas, California, a landscape of both valleys and coast that would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. He attended Stanford University in 1919 to study literature and writing, though he left without a degree. He supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City until his first novel, Cup of Gold, was published in 1929. Tortilla Flat, which he published in 1935, gained him his wealth and celebrity, but his crowning literary achievement didn't come until 1939 with The Grapes of Wrath, though he had published widely in between. Steinbeck devoted his services to the war, worked as a filmmaker (The Forgotten Village) and studied marine biology for Sea of Cortez (1941). For the last third of his life he traveled widely with his third wife, and called both New York City and Sag Harbor his home. Steinbeck remains one of the most prolific and influential authors of his generation, having won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

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