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D.W. Griffith - A Corner in Wheat (1909)


A Corner in Wheat is a 1909 short film which tells of a greedy tycoon who tries to corner the world market on wheat, destroying the lives of the people who can no longer afford to buy bread. It was directed by D. W. Griffith and adapted by Griffith and Frank E. Woods from the novel The Pit (1903) by Frank Norris. Intercutting (cross-cutting) between still tableaux of the poor in the bread line and the lavish, active parties of the wealthy speculator somewhat anticipates the collision montage which became a hallmark of the politically-charged Soviet cinema a decade or so later.

In 1994, A Corner in Wheat was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". This is the first film in which D.W. Griffith attempts social commentary. The scenario parallels the problems of a poor farmer and the dealings of an ill-fated "wheat king." Based on the novel "The Pit" by Frank Norris.

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