For more info on this film and others in the series, see One Book, One Redmond Film Festival.
The Plow That Broke the Plains
The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936) is a short documentary film which shows what happened to the Great Plains region of the United States and Canada when uncontrolled agricultural farming led to the Dust Bowl. It was written and directed by Pare Lorentz. Lorentz worked on the film with composer Virgil Thomson, who shared Lorentz' enthusiasm for folk music and incorporated many folk melodies, along with other popular and religious music, into the soundtrack.
The film was sponsored by the United States government (Resettlement Administration) to raise awareness about the New Deal and was intended to cost $6,000 or less; it eventually cost over $19,000 and Lorentz, turning in many receipts written on various scraps of paper, had many of his reimbursements denied. In the end, he paid for much of the film himself.
In 1999, The Plow That Broke the Plains was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".