Millions of Us (film #916 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]

This 30s film tells the story of a homeless unemployed worker and his depressing life on the street. Relief is not available to him because he’s a transient, he sees rich people feeding their pets while he goes hungry, and even the mission is closed for the day. Eventually, he responds to a job notice for a factory where the workers are on strike. He tries to cross the picket line, but is knocked down by the angry striking workers. One of the workers understands the guy’s plight and he takes him back to the outdoor kitchen that fixes meals for the striking workers and gives him a good meal. While the homeless guy eats, the sympathetic worker explains why the strike is necessary and why scabbing hurts everybody. His pitch is effective, for the homeless guy decides to join the picket line afterwards. This film is unfortunately missing its soundtrack, but it’s so well made you have no trouble following the story without it. It’s a good thing it was preserved anyway, because it is a moving film that makes its points well and doesn’t overplay its hand. It’s a rather tall order to convince homeless desperate people not to take jobs in order to avoid “scabbing,” yet I found the film to be pretty convincing anyway. The film is also a great historical document of the labor movement of the 30s.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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